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Mob hits land official with slippers
- Finger at Trinamul for threats and assault on Balurghat officer

Balurghat, Aug. 23: Around 100 alleged Trinamul Congress supporters beat up a government official with slippers last evening, angry because he had called police and got a villager arrested for threatening him.

Block land and land revenue officer Prasun Saha took seven days’ leave and left for home in Chinsurah, Hooghly, last night, after telling block development officer Wandi Gallop Bhutia that he had felt “insulted”.

An employee of the land and land revenue office, on condition of anonymity, said local resident Santa Saha came to the chamber of the block land officer around 5pm yesterday to know what action the office had taken on a complaint filed by his father Kamalaprasad.

In a complaint lodged with Prasun on July 30, Kamalaprasad had alleged that another villager in Mahipal, about 75km from Balurghat, had taken over a portion of his land and was digging a pond there.

“When Santa came to me yesterday, I told him that the incident was being investigated by the revenue inspector. But he wasn’t satisfied with my reply and abused and threatened me. I immediately called up Kushmandi police and they took him away,” Prasun Saha said yesterday.

Within half an hour, around 100 people, several reportedly carrying Trinamul flags, mobbed the land office. “They barged into my chamber and overturned a table. They asked me why I had complained to the police against Santa. Some of them heckled and struck me with their slippers. My spectacles were broken. They used filthy language,” Prasun Saha said.

Tapan Majumdar, an employee in the office, was assaulted when he tried to rescue the land official. Majumdar said it was shocking to see the official being assaulted in “such a brutal way”.

“The attackers slapped our officer with slippers and broke his spectacles. They didn’t spare me either when I went to the chamber to rescue the official,” Majumdar said.

Another employee, who did not want to be named, said several people in the mob carried Trinamul flags.

Sources said Santa and the people who had attacked the land official were known Trinamul supporters in Kushmandi, 70km from here.

Trinamul has denied the charge that its supporters attacked the government official.

“The incident is no doubt deplorable. Our party wasn’t involved in the episode in any way. If anybody wielded our party flag, they did it for their personal purpose. Trinamul won’t endorse such unlawful incidents,” said Sankar Putatunda, the Kushmandi block president of the party.

Prasun Saha last night went to the nearby block hospital and was released after first aid. He filed a complaint with the police before proceeding on his seven-day leave.

Rajen Chhetri, the inspector in charge of Kushmandi police station, said: “We have started an inquiry on the basis of the complaint. A man (Santa) has been arrested .”

BDO Bhutia today said he had gone to the land office and seen how the mob had ransacked the place.

Santa was today produced in the Gangarampur subdivisional court and released on bail.