The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stirrings of action before judicial probe

Calcutta, Oct. 14: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit to Rizwanur Rahman’s house yesterday has brought relief to the CPM, which feels that the per- sonal touch has eased the tension somewhat.

But party leaders feel the respite would be hard to sustain if action against police officers accused of coercing Rizwanur to leave his wife Priyanka Todi was delayed for long.

With pressure from a section of the party and public opinion mounting, the leaders said the government was unlikely to wait for the judicial probe to end before cracking the whip. It might take some “interim action” if the high court rejects the Rahmans’ petition for a CBI probe, MP Mohammad Salim said.

The hearing on the petition will resume tomorrow. If the court reserves its order till Tuesday, when the Puja holidays begin, the government might wait till the vacation gets over on November 19.

The Left Front will meet on October 17 as the CPI, Forward Bloc and the RSP have demanded a discussion on the ration riots and Rizwanur’s mysterious death. The allies want the government to remove the officers from their posts during the judicial probe.

“The chief minister’s visit and assurance that justice will be delivered has calmed Riz- wanur’s family and public opinion, however slightly. Otherwise, today’s procession demanding the CBI probe would have been bigger,’’ a CPM minister said.

The change in the route of the rally — initially slated to go through Palm Avenue, where Bhattacharjee lives — was apparently a result of the visit.

Bhattacharjee’s decision to go to Rizwanur’s house was aimed at assuaging the feel- ings of the community on the eve of Id and to pre-empt the Opposition bid to extract political mileage, a leader said.

Rizwanur’s mother’s reluctance to meet Bhattacharjee and the family’s plan to go to Jyoti Basu hastened the visit, a minister said. “The Opposition parties were advising them to go to Basu’s house and embarrass the chief minister.”

Several leaders said the visit has increased the chief minister’s obligation to act against the errant officers.

“The personal interaction between the family and the chief minister helped both sides know each other’s mind. It has increased the chief minister’s commitment to deliver justice,” said Salim.

“He was being portrayed as a police minister defending his officers despite their wrong-doings,” the MP added.

The CBI probe petition has come in the way of early action against the officers, Salim said. “The opposition to the probe is not case-specific, but on the court’s right to order it.”

“The family’s petition on the advice of the Trinamul Congress and the APDR (Association for Protection of Democratic Rights) has created unnecessary complications for the government. But justice would not be denied,” said Rabin Deb, who had accompanied Bhattacharjee yesterday.

Mamata Banerjee and other Opposition leaders today joined the silent rally demanding the CBI probe and removal of the accused police officers.

Mamata and state Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharya also went to Rizwanur’s house.

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