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Tehatta torture finger at cops
- Visually challenged among those arrested for flare-up

Tehatta, Nov. 15: Residents of villages near Tehatta, where a man died in a clash with police who opened fire, alleged that cops assaulted them and ransacked their homes during raids till late last night.

The police have arrested four persons, including a visually challenged 17-year-old, from Courtpara, Bargipara and Garibpur. The three villages are located on the outskirts of Tehatta town and are near Haulia Park More, the site of the flare-up.

The police denied the allegation of excesses.

The four persons were remanded in two weeks’ police custody today.

The police last evening lodged an FIR against 22 people and a “1,000-strong unknown and unruly mob” on the basis of a report by SDPO Shailesh, who opened fire.

The charges include attempt to murder, rioting with deadly weapons, voluntarily causing grievous hurt with dangerous weapons and criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty.

Sanaka Haldar, the mother of the visually challenged Arup, said: “Around 30 policemen had come to the lane where our house is located. My son had gone out of the house hearing the hue and cry when the police caught him and beat him up ruthlessly. I told them that my son could not have been involved in the incident. But they did not listen.”

Sanaka’s mud-walled house in Bargipara is located about 2km from the spot of yesterday’s clash. “My son had to leave studies two years ago because of poor eyesight,” said Sanaka, whose husband works in a grocery shop.

Sanaka’s neighbour Ramprasad Bhowmik, 40, was also picked up. The cycle van operator’s wife, Putul, said Ramprasad had come home for lunch when the police arrested him.

“The police came around 2pm and dragged away my husband. He told them that he was ferrying LPG cylinders at the time of the flare-up but to no avail,” Putul said. She alleged the police hit her, Ramprasad and his 70-year-old mother with batons. “They kicked my mother-in-law in the chest,” Putul added.

Another Bargipara resident, Banani Biswas, said the police had come looking for her husband Gautam, 42, who runs a computer showroom at nearby Jitpur More.

“The police broke open the door and asked me where my husband was. I was changing clothes after a bath then. I asked them to get out but they paid no heed. When I told them that my husband was at his shop, they ransacked the house. They toppled the almirah and broke other furniture,” Banani said.

Sandhya Sharma, the wife of saw mill worker Ashok Sharma who was killed allegedly in the police firing, said: “My husband had gone to the market. He was not involved in any violence.”

Sharma’s family demanded a government job for his elder son, who passed Madhyamik two years ago but could not continue studies because of financial problems.

Nadia police chief S.R. Mishra denied the allegations of excesses. “I have not heard of any police atrocities on women during yesterday’s raids. I also don’t know about the arrest of any visually challenged youth. But I will still inquire into the matter,” he said.

The police today stopped BJP and Left delegations from Calcutta about 1km from the clash spot citing law-and-order issues.

Shamik Bhattacharya, who led the BJP team, said Sharma was a party supporter.

A Congress delegation from Murshidabad, however, managed to sneak in and visited Sharma’s house and the spot of the clash.

The IG in charge of south Bengal, Mihir Kumar Bhattacharya, visited the spot with DIG (Murshidabad range) Ashok Prasad.