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CBI sniffs out survivors of Chhoto Angaria

Calcutta, Nov. 21: The CBI has tracked down Ishaque Mondol, one of the 11 “presumed dead’’ in the alleged massacre at Chhoto Angaria village in Midnapore in January last year.

A report prepared by the special crime branch of the Central investigating agency says it has enough evidence to suggest that another “victim”, Umed of Dangarpara, is also alive.

On the night of January 3, 2001, CPM men allegedly torched and fired upon the house of Abdul Rehman Mondal alias Bakhtar at the village in Garbeta, now part of West Midnapore. The Trinamul Congress had alleged that 11 of its supporters were killed in the incident and their bodies smuggled out of the area.

Deputy inspector-general of police, CBI, Loknath Behera, who is supervising the case, said the CBI sleuths met Ishaque at a village near Chhoto Angaria through a contact “at least eight times” in the past six months and interrogated him. “Ishaque’s relatives have identified him,” Behera added.

“Given the sensitive nature of the case, we also spoke to his friends to doubly confirm that we got the right person. We also cross-checked his photograph with the Garbeta police,” he said.

The CBI said it was first informed by sources in Garbeta last December that Ishaque was alive. “We were hot on his trail since then. Sleuths worked overtime on relatives and friends and convinced them to get Ishaque to meet the CBI officers. Then we had to make sure that the Ishaque we were talking to was the same guy who was in Abdul Rehman Mondol’s house that evening,’’ Behera added.

The CBI said Ishaque was shifted out of Midnapore to a safer place after the officers were convinced about his identity.

The report says the relatives of three suspected victims, Rabial Bhanji, Hyder Khan and Rafique Mallick, had performed their last rites. Investigation reports with the CBI say they suspect six of the 11 persons are actually dead. But it adds that the CBI has no clue about their bodies or any idea about the whereabouts of the four others, apart from Ishaque and Umed.

, widely believed to have survived the massacre.

“I am satisfied with the progress of investigations. Our officers are working on few more specific leads. It is a painstaking probe which takes some time but I am confidant that we will get to the bottom of the case,’’ CBI director PC Sharma told The Telegraph.

According to a complaint lodged by Abdul Rehman Mondol at the Garbeta police station on January 5, he along with 11 others, on verbal assurance from local CPM leaders had returned home in Hemnagar on January 4 evening when 50 to 60 villagers accosted them and abused them.

Mondol and his colleagues took shelter in his house but the mob locked it from house and opened fire from their improvised revolvers. In his complaint, Mondol mentioned those mob fired from pipeguns and later set the house on fire.

According to the complaint, Mondol had jumped through the roof and escaped. He reported to the police that Mukhter Khan of Tildanga, Hyder Khan of Saltora, Rafique Mullick of Nichantapur, Rabial Bhanji of Jadavbati, Ishaque Mondol of Chhoto Angeria, Enamul if Hemnagar, Kajol of Uttar Bil, Shyam Patra of Shantipur, Amol of Tilberia, Umed of Dangarpara and Sattar of Baherasol are dead.

The report mentions that in April this year, officers got an indication that Umed too is alive. CBI found that unknown miscreants smashed his Dangarpara house and the family has shifted from there.

“CBI investigators met Umed’s relatives and friends who told them that he is alive but staying out of the district out of fear. CBI officers recorded statements of Umed’s relatives clearly saying that he is alive,’’ the report said. “But he is unwilling to come out of hiding,'' the report mentions. “Hyder’s wife had re-married her brother-in-law last winter,’’ the report said.

Mondol had filed FIR against eight persons at the Garbeta police station.

The CBI report said the main accused persons are Golap Mullick, Sirajul, Mastan, Prasant Pal, Azizul Midda, Tapan Ghosh, Sukur Ali Khan and Salamat.

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