Calcutta, Jan. 1: A traffic police sergeant is battling for life in a private hospital after being mercilessly beaten up early this morning by five off-duty constables when he protested against their vicious teasing of a young woman in central Calcutta.
Bapi Sen, 35, is in deep coma and on life support at the Calcutta Medical Research Institute, said assistant medical superintendent Mala Chattopadhyay. A medical board has been set up for his treatment.
The deputy commissioner of police, central, Zulfiquar Hasan, said two of the constables, Madhusudhan Chakraborty and Pijush Goswami, have been arrested and charged with attempt to murder. “We are looking for the rest of them,’’ he added.
The five constables got off a taxi to beat up Bapi and left him bleeding on the tram tracks on Nirmal Chandra Street. Bapi, an upright 1991 batch sergeant of the Tollygunge traffic guard, had objected to their lewd comments directed at a girl riding pillion on her friend’s motorcycle around 1 am on New Year’s day.
Bapi, too, was off-duty and was out with his four marine engineer friends — Ashok Sengupta, Kanai Kundu, Gautam Majumdar and Najeb Mullah — for a New Year’s eve dinner. His friends simply watched from their Maruti as the rogue constables beat up Bapi.
“We were too stunned to react,” one of them said.
The five constables — Chakraborty, Goswami, Sridam Bauri, Mujibur Rehman and Sekhar Bhusan Mitra — had left their B-company barracks in Sulekha Buildings opposite the Lalbazar police headquarters on New Year’s eve.
They hired a taxi (WB-04A-3450) and were making the rounds of Park Street, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, Lindsay Street and surrounding areas, regular hangouts of New Year revellers.
Taxi driver Boltu and helper Mewalal said the five constables were drinking inside the cab.
While going south along Nirmal Chandra Street, they spotted the girl on the motorcycle near the Bowbazar intersection and directed the taxi driver to follow them. “The constables sitting in the back whistled and passed lewd remarks at the girl. As the taxi drew near the motorcycle, a cop took his hand out of the window and pulled the girl’s hair,” Boltu said.
Bapi and his four friends were driving along Nirmal Chandra Street in the same direction after dinner in a central Calcutta restaurant.
“Najeb was driving the car and Bapi was sitting beside him. I, Ashok and Gautam were sitting at the back. As we drove along Nirmal Chandra Street, we noticed the taxi pulling near the motorcycle and the passengers passing comments at the girl,’’ Kanai said.
“We suddenly saw a hand flash out of the taxi and pull the girl’s hair. Bapi told Najeb to accelerate and overtake the taxi. Once we pulled ahead, Bapi jumped out and confronted the eve-teasers,” he added.
The motorcycle stopped for a second and sped away. The constables came out of the taxi on seeing Bapi approach them.
“There was an argument between Bapi and the cops. They pushed and shoved and hit Bapi in the head, chest and face,” Hasan said.
Bapi fell on the tram tracks head first and lost consciousness. All this while, his four friends sat inside the car and came out only after he fell.
Bapi’s wife Soma said she came to know about the incident at 4.15 am. Bapi had come home from duty around 10 pm. “He and his friends decided to have dinner outside and go for a long drive. They left in Najeb’s car around 11,” Soma said.