The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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At mercy of mob, cop
Activist in assault cry

For some, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s police force isn’t so friendly after all.

Ask a social worker in Thakurpukur who, along with her sister, was assaulted by neighbours as she tried to save her father from them. Then, to add insult to injury, local police did not lodge a complaint against the assailants.

Rumki Chakraborty, the 24-year-old activist from Thakurpukur, recounted on Tuesday how on Saturday morning, her neighbours had attacked her father Rabin Chakraborty, who runs his family decorator’s business. Rabin was going to Haridevpur for a shradh ceremony when Goutam Bhattacharya, a neighbour and a relative of the deceased man, allegedly hit Rabin with an iron rod on his head.

“It was hardly 10 yards from our house. We ran to help our father. But Goutam and his men attacked me and my sister Tamali, too,” cried Rumki. “Goutam even pulled out a tuft of hair from her head and scratched our faces. My 17-year-old sister began to cry, but he kept attacking her,” she added.

According to Rumki, who works with local organisations and has even received a state government award for consumer activism, when the three went to Keorapukur police outpost on Monday to lodge a complaint against Goutam, they hit a stonewall.

Outpost officer-in-charge Supriya Das asked them to wait and sent an officer to the spot. Even before the officer returned, Rabin and his daughters were asked to go back home. In the evening, Rabin was summoned to the police station as Goutam had lodged a complaint against them.

Das then told them that the problem had been “mutually settled”.

“He made my father sign a bail bond, but nowhere did he mention the torture on my sister and me,” Rumki said. “We then took the matter to the additional superintendent of police (industrial) D.P. Singh.”

Soma, Goutam’s sister, said: “We did not attack them, they attacked us.”

Rumki said Goutam bore a grudge against her family over a property dispute that was settled by the local CPM Nagarik Committee, with Rabin playing a key role. Goutam was not happy with the settlement.

Rumki also blamed the police non-cooperation on her previous run-ins with them as a social activist.

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