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Who’s afraid of Maoists'

Midnapore, July 21: Minutes after being transferred to Maoist stronghold Lalgarh in West Midnapore, a police station officer-in-charge resigned today accusing the authorities of “inhuman behaviour”.

Thirty-five-year-old Prasanta Patra, who joined as second officer of the Daspur police station last December and became the OC in January, said he had been victimised and transferred too frequently.

“The transfer to Lalgarh without any warning has hit me like tsunami. I will take up tuition jobs or open a phone booth, but not serve the police,” said Patra, a physics (honours) graduate from Burdwan University.

Originally a resident of Bankura’s Khatra, Patra submitted his resignation to West Midnapore superintendent of police Ajay Nand.

Swarup Basak, who was in charge of Nandakumar police station in East Midnapore, took over Patra’s post at Daspur this evening.

Nand said a police officer’s job is transferable and he is “bound to abide by the condition”. Patra is reluctant to join Lalgarh for some other reason, Nand added, hinting at the fear factor.

Maoists have carried out repeated strikes on security forces at Lalgarh, about 180 km from Calcutta. In October, 2004, six Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans were blown to pieces by a landmine. Days later, a district intelligence branch constable was shot dead by guerrillas a stone’s throw from the police station. This year, CPM local committee member Kartick Singh was hacked to death after a trial at a kangaroo court at Harulia village.

Patra denied that he was scared. “It is not the place of transfer but the transfer itself that has irked me. Lalgarh is like any other place to me.”

Since joining Asansol’s Railpara police outpost as a sub-inspector, Patra said he had been victimised.

The reason, Patra claimed, was that he refused to always obey “heavily politicised superiors”.

After being “frequently transferred from one outpost to another in Asansol for seven years”, Patra was appointed OC of Budbud in Burdwan in 2002.

He said: “In December 2004, I was transferred to the Chittaranjan police station. Six months on, the police station was upgraded and put under an inspector. I became a second officer. In two other police stations that were upgraded, the incumbent OCs were transferred elsewhere and saved the embarrassment.”

When sent to Daspur seven months ago, Patra thought he “would be able to settle down and got my son admitted to Class IV of a local private school”.

He was transferred again last night.

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