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Rights rap on Jalpaiguri police

Siliguri, April 14: The state human rights commission has hauled up the Jalpaiguri police for “inaction” over the assault on a 22-year-old pregnant woman by two men said to have links with Citu in January.

Lakshmi Sahani was repeatedly kicked on her lower abdomen by the two men near the New Jalpaiguri station on January 25. Her fault: she had supported her father when he protested against a hole being dug on the ground dangerously close to an electric pole. That was enough to invite the wrath of the two men, who wanted to teach her a “lesson”.

Sahani’s family twice went to the New Jalpaiguri police with a complaint, but the officials allegedly refused to lodge even a general diary.

Determined to get justice, the Sahanis lodged a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission in which they named Narayan Adhikari and Gopal Adhikari as the assailants. Both are said to be close to a local heavyweight of Citu, the labour arm of the CPM.

Taking cognizance of the complaint, the commission wrote to the Jalpaiguri superintendent of police on March 27, 2004, and sought a detailed report. The commission also ordered New Jalpaiguri and Bhaktinagar police stations to ensure that the guilty are brought to book without delay.

“Why was the complaint not registered by the police station' Why was the role of the two men named by the complainants not investigated,” the letter says.

New Jalpaiguri circle inspector Pradip Dutta told The Telegraph today: “We sent our reply to the state human rights commission yesterday. In our reply, we have furnished all relevant details of the incident. We are also carrying out special raids to arrest those who are guilty.”

Dutta added that a local inquiry conducted by a sub-inspector had indicated that a verbal altercation, and not an assault, had taken place. Sources said the commission has also asked the police to fully explore the “Citu links” of the accused.

“The commission had asked us to furnish details of the political affiliations of the two accused. It also wants to know whether punitive measures were initiated against the duo,” said a senior Bhaktinagar police officer.

“The way in which the pregnant girl was kicked repeatedly in front of her parents was simply inhuman. They would have killed her had we not intervened in time,” said a relative of the Sahanis.

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