The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Women slap ‘torture’ slur on police

Manteswar, March 11: The police here have been accused of “torturing” women on the pretext of conducting raids.

Residents of Bhagra under Manteswar police station in Burdwan have moved the human rights commission against two senior police officials.

Sources said the villagers’ relations with the police were strained in July after constable Anwar Ali and his wife Mastera Bibi were found dead in their residence. While the police treated the deaths as suicide, the villagers said they were murdered.

The residents had alleged to district magistrate Manoj Agarwal that the officer in-charge of Manteswar, Samsher Ali, and Kalna circle inspector Sisir Roy were trying to hush up the case.

Agarwal ordered a forensic examination of the bodies, which had been buried on July 27.

The forensic report said Ali and his wife bore marks of injury. The villagers organised a string of protest meetings and processions in the area demanding action against the policemen.

Bowing to pressure, the police opened a new case. But the villagers said they incurred the wrath of the officials who had earlier tried to establish it as a suicide case.

A member of the Bhagra-Mulgram panchayat, Liyakat Ali, said the police are now trying to heckle those who had organised the demonstrations. “They are conducting regular raids on our village and harassing us on one plea or the other. They are using filthy language and some of them have molested our women,” he alleged.

Determined to take on the police, Suti Bibi, a villager, wrote to the rights panel that two policemen had ransacked her house on December 14 and “tortured me”.

“They (the policemen) forced me to undress, dragged me to our courtyard and tortured me,” she wrote.

“We have been suffering sleepless nights fearing midnight raids and torture by the policemen,” said an elderly lady.

Rights panel officials said they are looking into the allegations. “We shall not make a comment till the investigation is complete,” they said.

However, district superintendent of police B.N. Ramesh rejected the complaints. “The police are handling the case with care and have taken measures against those involved in the murder. A section of the villagers are now trying to foil the investigation,” he said.

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