The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Too weak to walk, not to run away

Malda, Nov. 19: Neither the hospital staff nor the police had an inkling about the “hidden talent” of Abdul Khalek, an undertrial undergoing medical treatment at Malda Sadar Hospital. They woke up when he played a “reel-life” trick on them.

Khalek had “fallen ill” at Malda court lock-up on November 14. An “unconscious” Khalek was brought to the hospital from the court.

“Too weak to walk”, he used to crawl to the toilet. Very soon, he “earned the confidence” of the police and the hospital staff. Khalek fled the hospital this morning.

“Nobody had ever felt the need of keeping a special watch on this undertrial from Bangladesh. Now we realise that his sickness was nothing but feigned. He had planned the escape much before,” said district superintendent of police Pankaj Dutta. The Border Security Force has been alerted and all police stations along the border have been asked to be on vigil, he added.

Khalek, a resident of the Posa police station area of Bangladesh, had been arrested by the BSF jawans when he crossed the border near Parbatidanga in the Bamongola police station area on October 1.

This morning, too, he was seen crawling towards the toilet. But nobody saw him return for a long time after that.

Apprehending that the ailing undertrial may have collapsed inside the toilet, the hospital staff broke its door open. He was nowhere to be seen.

Two home-guards, posted at the medicine (male) ward to keep watch on Khalek, came running to discover that he had fooled them.

“We couldn’t imagine such a thing might take place. He was not even in a position to stand properly. This morning, the home-guards helped him to the toilet,” said a senior police official. He put the blame on the jail authorities.

There used to be a “police cell” on the second floor of the medicine ward where undertrials used to be treated. Now, they are kept with other patients on the first floor. “This is not a proper way to keep undertrials in a hospital. It is not very difficult to dupe an unsuspecting hospital staff. They should always be segregated from other patients and kept under the nose of the policemen,” said the hospital superintendent.

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