Sir — The Trinamul Congress seems to be protecting and appeasing goons and vandals. The murder of sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury took place in broad daylight, when a number of goons — reportedly supported by the ruling party — assembled at a college election in Garden Reach to take control of the nomination process (“Shoot-at-will city”, Feb 13). The video footage of the incident helped in identifying not just the shooter but also Mohammad Iqbal, the TMC leader and municipal borough chairman, as the kingpin behind the clashes. Ranjit Kumar Pachnanda — who was recently removed from the post of police commissioner — had several of the accused arrested. He also mentioned Iqbal’s name in the first information report (“Scent of Munna’s mentor”, Feb 18).
Following the arrests, Pachnanda was removed from his post, for “not framing the FIR in the Garden Reach murder as dictated by a Trinamul minister and approved by the party leadership”. Instead of slamming the incident, the minister, reportedly, asked the erstwhile commissioner to name Mukhtar, a former CPI(M) henchman, as the shooter. Such interference in the working of the police force is not only offensive, but also demoralizing. The governor, M.K. Narayanan, has rightly condemned the removal of Pachnanda (“Police chief shunted for spunk, MK whips government”, Feb 15).
Benu Kumar Bose, Calcutta
Sir — It seems that it is now the turn of the police to feel unsafe under the present regime (“Fate of probe in doubt as CID is called in”, Feb 15). The murder of Tapas Chowdhury at Garden Reach speaks volumes about the deteriorating law and order situation. It establishes the fact that the police have been reduced to a mere instrument for safeguarding the interests of political leaders and their henchmen, and have been made to speak the language of the ruling political party. When an honest policeman chooses to call a spade a spade, he or she falls out of favour with these ‘leaders’ and has to pay a price. Like R.K. Pachnanda, Damayanti Sen was transferred to a relatively low- profile posting when she made headway in the Park Street rape case.
The police force needs to be depoliticized. Its allegiance should lie with the public and not with the political bosses. The chief minister should make this possible, lest it be said someday, “Mamata Banerjee was painting while Bengal was burning”.
Prabhakar Bhattacharya, Ichapur, North 24 Parganas
Sir — In the wake of the murder of sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury in Garden Reach, the initial indifference of Mamata Banerjee was shocking and hurtful. When goondaism affects the police and administrators, the real role of an elected government is defeated. Lately, the state seems to be governed by antisocial elements, many of them supported by the ruling party. Chowdhury was a government employee, and he was killed while he was performing his duty. Mamata Banerjee had been known for reaching out to the victims of such crimes during the Left’s reign. Yet she took a long time to show the same respect for Chowdhury and his family. One has to say that for her government, the interests of the common people come only after those of the party. There isn’t much of a difference between the leaders who indulge in violence and killings and the goons who actually carry out murders and spread unrest.
Uttam K. Bhowmik, Tamluk
Sir — R.K. Pachnanda is known to be an honest officer. Yet he was removed as police commissioner for not framing the FIR as dictated by a TMC minister. The commissioner was reportedly “shocked” at the idea of a false FIR. When the police force — led by him — tried to counter the order by telling the TMC leadership that officers on the spot had seen the shooting, the police witnesses were dubbed as “CPM officers”.
If this is what happens to an upright policeman, how will the police perform their duty in the state? One would surmise that West Bengal is the only state in the country in which politics speaks the last word in every sphere of public life. Even the keepers of law and order are forced to abide by the ruling party’s diktat.
Pachnanda may now leave Bengal in favour of Delhi and justifiably so. One salutes him for his doggedness and firm stand against injustice.
Ranjeet Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The former police commissioner’s action against the alleged perpetrators of violence at Garden Reach was commendable. Every citizen expects law enforcing agencies to maintain the state of law and order and not bow to pressure. If it weren’t for officers like Pachnanda, the enforcement of the rule of law in our country would ever remain a distant dream.
Anil Kumar Choudhury, Kalyani