The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cadre in cop assault

Behrampore, Nov. 6: A group of alleged CPM supporters attacked policemen, snatched their rifles and beat them up near here last night.

Two policemen on patrol had questioned the whereabouts of about a dozen youths standing in the dark at Moktarpur village, 240 km from Calcutta. An altercation and an attack by a mob of armed men followed.

The policemen were seriously injured and had to be admitted to the district police hospital. Their rifles were recovered from the house of CPM local committee member Madan Roy.

Murshidabad superintendent Gyanwant Singh said four armed police constables from the Mohammadbazar camp had split into two teams. One of them picked up a quarrel with some local people. “Suddenly, over a hundred people armed with bamboo sticks and brickbats attacked them.”

A large police force was rushed to the village but no one could be arrested. “We could not find a single man in the village. They’d all fled. We are trying to locate the culprits,” said Singh.

Constables Suman Das and Gulam Dostogir are still trying to come to grips with last night’s assault. Das said they had gone to patrol Moktarpur in the wake of a bomb blast two days ago.

“We were asked to patrol the area and keep watch on the situation. When we went there around 8.30 pm, we saw about a dozen youths standing in a dark spot and talking among themselves. There was a CPM worker, Sajjad, in the group. He made a rude comment,” said Das.

Sajjad’s jibe led to the altercation. “In no time, more than a hundred villagers led by local CPM leaders attacked us. Gulam and I fell down and they snatched our rifles,” said Das.

The district CPM leadership denied that party workers had attacked the police. They accused the force of “excesses”. “It is the failure of the police not to be able to protect their own rifles. No one belonging to our party is linked with the incident. But there may be CPM supporters among those who had protested against police atrocities,” said Moinul Hasan, a party MP.

Hasan said the villagers recovered the rifles from a field and deposited them in Roy’s house. “Madan (Roy) later informed the police and returned the rifles,” said Hasan.

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