Cooch Behar, Feb. 19: One does not have to be a senior police officer, a bureaucrat, or even an MP or an MLA to strut around with personal security guards in Cooch Behar. It seems that being a CPM leader is the only criterion for having bodyguards here.
There are 73 constables on personal security duty for officials and CPM leaders in the district.
As many as 16 CPM leaders, who are neither MPs nor MLAs, are provided with police personnel.
Benubadal Chakrabarty, an invitee to the CPM’s district secretariat and Khageswar Das, a panchayat samiti sabhapati, are among those who are given police protection.
Forward Bloc workers, still bristling at the February 5 police firing, claimed that their senior leadership did without such security cover.
“As the district secretary of the Forward Bloc, I have never asked for security. Even our party’s all-India secretary and MP Debabrata Biswas and MLA Akshay Thakur do not have guards,” said Udayan Guha.
The Trinamul Congress MLA from Dinahata, Ashok Mondol, also spoke on similar lines.
“Since I am an MLA and elected by the people, why should I need constables to guard me? There is nothing to fear,” said Mondol.
When asked why CPM leaders were being provided with security cover, district police superintendent Anil Kumar said apart from MPs and MLAs, those who faced threat were also given security cover.
“When we receive applications from leaders for protection, we go through intelligence reports, on the basis of which security is given,” said Kumar.
While justifying the security cover provided to the CPM leaders, party district secretary Chandi Pal said it was his organisation that had lost the largest number of leaders to militant attacks.
“If anyone has any questions, take up the matter with the police,” Pal said.