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HC rap for 'jungle raj'
- Burdwan police refuse to accept extortion complaint

Calcutta, Jan. 5: Calcutta High Court today rapped the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government, observing that a 'jungle raj' was prevailing in the state. This is the third time in the past six months that the court has criticised the government for its failure to maintain the rule of law.

'The state police will have to understand the difference between a jungle raj and a civil society. The manner in which police are allowing musclemen to torture law-abiding citizens, it seems we are living in a jungle raj.

'In a civil society, the state is duty-bound to provide protection to the common people,' said Justice Girish Chandra Gupta while hearing a petition by Samsur Rahaman, a resident of Burdwan.

Justice Gupta also directed Jane Alam, the Burdwan deputy superintendent of police (DSP), headquarters, and Burdwan police station inspector-in-charge (IC) Pranab Mondal to register a complaint against goons who were not allowing Rahaman to construct a building.

In 2004, when Rahaman was about to begin construction on a plot he had purchased in Sarbamangala Bahir Mouza, the goons allegedly stopped him from doing so until he paid them some money. But Rahaman refused.

In December 2004, he went to the Burdwan police station to lodge a complaint but officers there refused to accept it. In May last year, he again went there to lodge a complaint but the police told him to settle the matter by paying some money to the goons.

Rahaman then approached the DSP (headquarters), Burdwan, and lodged a complaint. But he, too, did not take any action against the police officers.

Rahaman then moved the high court. His counsel informed the court that Rahaman was forced to knock on the doors of the court as the police refused to accept his complaint. Last Tuesday, Justice Gupta asked the DSP (headquarters) and the Burdwan IC to appear in court. Both were present there today.

After hearing the police version, the court came to the conclusion that the allegation made by the petitioner was true and the police had failed to protect his interest.

In July last year, Justice P. Ray of the high court, while hearing a petition by a businessman ' also from Burdwan ' had said that people of the state were living under a 'jungle raj'. Some goons had allegedly demanded money from the businessman when he wanted to open a showroom in the town.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar also made a similar observation in September last year when no action was against some police officers found guilty of killing a prisoner in the lock-up of the Bally police station.

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