The accused being taken to the lock-up at Alipore court on Wednesday. Picture by Bibhash Lodh
The Alipore court premises resembled a fortress on Wednesday following the deployment of close to 40 cops around the lock-up where the 12 arrested for the Garden Reach violence were put up.
The posse, led by an assistant commissioner, formed a ring around the lock-up which on other days is guarded by three-four cops. There were three inspectors and at least four sub-inspectors in the group.
The cops, many of whom were carrying guns, had brought 20 batons and a few teargas shells. “We do not want to take any chance as the 12 accused in the Garden Reach case were lodged in the court lock-up while the police were seeking their remand,” said a police officer on the court premises.
The heavy bandobast came a day too late. On Tuesday, only around 20 cops were stationed around Harimohan Ghose College when a local youth shot dead sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury. Only a few in the contingent were carrying batons.
The crowd build-up began from around 9.30am but the cops at the site did not ask for reinforcement. There was no additional deployment even when the clash broke out.
“The heavily outnumbered force could do nothing but just watch as the rival camps ran riot,” said a police source.
At the Alipore court, on the other hand, the deployment was planned in advance. “The contingent included men and women from Alipore police station, the divisional deputy commissioner’s office, armed police and the home guard wing,” said an officer.
The cops did not allow anyone to come within 10 metres of the lock-up. At one point they even started managing traffic on the court premises. “I have rarely seen police so active at the court,” said a lawyer. Some policemen were also deployed near the courtroom.
The 12 accused were brought to the court lock-up at 2.30pm but the special deployment was in force since 11am.
Two prime accused — Abdus Subhan, 27, and Mohammad Ibne Saud, 39 — were booked for murder and also under the arms act.
Since no lawyer turned up to defend the duo, the court appointed a lawyer, Bikash Guchait, for them. “Police have not yet recovered any arms, so I prayed for their bail,” Guchait submitted. Public prosecutor Pijush Kanti Mondal opposed the plea, saying: “After pursuing the statements of these two youths, the police may be able to recover arms and bombs the gang had used. Their custody is important for the investigation.”
The magistrate remanded the duo in police custody till February 26. The 10 others — booked for murder, rioting and other offences — have been remanded in police custody till February 19.