Krishnagar, Jan. 4: Mohammad Musharaf Hossain was guarding the railway level-crossing at Jhitkepota in Nadia. The level crossing bar was down as a Lalgola-bound passenger train from Ranaghat was to pass any moment.
But police personnel, said to be part of the convoy of director-general of police Shyamal Dutta, arrived first.
Two men in the pilot vehicle that generally runs ahead of a VIP's convoy, to see if the way is clear, got down and ordered Hossain to open the level crossing gate. Five of their colleagues sat in the car.
Hossain refused, explaining that the Lalgola-bound train was on its way. The policemen then beat up Hossain and pushed him to a corner.
The policemen raised the bar, waved a red flag and stopped the approaching train, which fortunately was moving slowly.
The incident happened minutes after the director-general, while inaugurating a police barrack at Krishnagar, urged police personnel to be polite while dealing with people.
'You must be very patient while dealing with people who come to the police station for help. Don't behave rudely with them. It is unfortunate that I am still getting reports of misbehaviour against policemen at police stations. This will not be tolerated,' Dutta said.
After the inauguration, Dutta was to return to Calcutta. The police vehicle (WB-52A/6389) riding before the DG's convoy was driving ahead. Around 1 pm, it stopped at the level crossing to find that the gate had just closed.
When the cops beat up Hossain he 'pleaded with them' saying the train coming from Ranaghat had already left Badkulla station and was on its way to Krishnagar station. 'But, they told me they have no time as the DG sahib will pass. They slapped me, beat me up with lathis and kicked me. The convoy was then at quite a distance from the level crossing,' the gateman said.
As Hossain lay bleeding, the policemen let the convoy cross. It included the director-general's white Ambassador and two other cars, carrying inspector-general of police (South Bengal) V. Mishra and deputy inspector-general of police (Murshidabad range), D. Sukul.
Hossain was later helped by local traders to close the gate so that the train, which had waited for 10 minutes, could pass. The traders took him to Krishnagar for treatment.
The divisional railway manager of Sealdah, Radhe Shyam, has reacted sharply to the incident. He said a complaint has already been lodged with the Government Railway Police.
'What the policemen have done is totally illegal. The gateman was just doing his duty to ensure safety of the train, passengers and local residents, but he was beaten up by the protectors of law. I have asked a senior officer of the Eastern Railway to conduct an inquiry,' the railway official said.
'We will find out shortly who assaulted the gateman and those who were in the cars that were passed after stopping a running train,' asserted the divisional manager.
'After a speedy inquiry we will lodge an FIR against the errant policemen. We are yet to identify the policemen responsible for the gateman's assault,' he added.
Home secretary Amit Kiran Deb said he would ask Dutta what actually happened. 'No one is above the law. We will take necessary steps after knowing the details,' he said.