The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Punched after mike protest

Balurghat, Feb. 13: Members of a local club here beat up a resident today after he requested them to stop the music being played past midnight on the loudspeakers.

The district superintendent of police has reprimanded the officer-in-charge of the local police station for not initiating suo motu action.

Ranjan Sarkar, a secretarial employee of the state panchayat department, had to be hospitalised with a broken nose following the showdown with the club members. Yet to recover from the shock, the family has not filed any complaint with the Balurghat police station. Sarkar’s daughter, a Madhyamik candidate, has fallen sick since then out of fear.

With the board exams round the corner (it begins on February 20), she had found it difficult to concentrate with the mikes going full blare. Around 12 midnight, Sarkar stepped out of his house in the Shanti Colony area of the town to request Yuva Sangha members to turn down the volume. Enraged, they pounced on him, punching him up.

Condemning the incident, Kalyan Kumar Mullick, the South Dinajpur police chief, said: “It is unacceptable that police will not take action just because no one has complained. They can enforce law and order independently (read suo motu case),” Mullick said.

“When I asked him (Dharmadeb Chatterjee, the officer-in-charge of Balurghat police station), why no action was taken, he replied that no one had lodged any complaint,” the police chief added.

Mullick said he has asked the officer-in-charge to seize the music system and look for the boys, who have fled the area. Chatterjee, on his part, said though he had visited the spot, he had not seen anyone. “An inquiry is on,” he said.

The police superintendent said he has instructed all police stations to strictly enforce the sound pollution rules before the Madhyamik.

A scared Sarkar and his family have been assured safety by the district police chief. Sources said Yuva Sangha had participated in a cricket tournament on Sunday, organised by the district contractors’ association. The loud music was part of the celebrations and they had been playing it since Monday morning. Sarkar’s patience gave up after midnight when he came out and confronted the revellers.

The councillor of ward 11, the CPM’s Tapas Sinha, blamed the police for the incident. “There is hardly any policing and their approach to the law and order problem is too casual,” he said.

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