The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court glare on cops over confinement

Mathabhanga, July 6: The additional chief judicial magistrate has showcaused three police officials for confining a pregnant woman for two days at the police station here without producing her in court.

Durga Khaitan Das, the ACJM, served the notices on Tuesday. Inspector-in-charge of the Mathabhanga police station Subrata Basu, investigating officer Parijat Sarkar and circle inspector Maniklal Lodh have been told to answer why action should not be taken against them for failing to produce Kajali Burman in court within 24 hours of her rescue.

While Basu told the ACJM today that he was on leave during the period and was unaware of what happened at the police station, the other officers have pleaded for more time.

Kajali, who had allegedly been abducted by the family members of her “second husband” more than a month ago, was found by Mainaguri police on June 1. She was then handed over to the Mathabhanga police station where her father had filed a complaint against her in-laws earlier. Initially, the police station had refused to take the complaint, but acted when the ACJM’s court intervened on May 19.

“But instead of coming to her aid, the police confined and tortured her. She was finally produced in court on June 4,” said Rabindranath Basunia, the lawyer representing Kajali Barman, the 23-year-old resident of Daluapar village in the Mathabhanga police station area.

Kajali, whose first husband Madhu Nag went missing six years ago, had been seeing Pulin Deb Singha for some time. She eloped with Pulin in October and “married” him in Siliguri. The couple then went off to Sikkim where Pulin worked in a shop.

According to Kajali, Pulin’s parents and brother tracked them and brought them back to the village in March. By the time she was pregnant with Pulin’s child, but the family refused to accept her. “They used to beat me up every day. I stayed there for two months. They then send Pulin away somewhere. He has been missing since,” said Kajali.

In May, Pulin’s brother forced Kajali to accompany him to Sikkim. “They wanted me to have an abortion there. When I refused and residents there came to my rescue, my brother-in-law fled. I used to work at a house as domestic help. By the time the court had asked the police to investigate and Pulin’s family got scared. They brought me back to Mainaguri on July 1,” said Kajali.

At Mainaguri, 60km from here, people got suspicious and informed the police. “I was taken to Mathabhanga but the police there continued to torture me,” said Kajali.

Though Basu was on leave during the time, he has denied the allegations. “She may not have been produced in court on time, but I don’t believe anyone tortured her,” he said.

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