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CIMA Gallary

Top cop shifted, glare on clash
- Jayaraman new Siliguri commissioner

Siliguri, April 19: The Siliguri police commissioner, Anand Kumar, was today transferred by the state government, a move which Trinamul Congress sources attributed to his alleged mishandling of the violence here on April 10 following the attack on minister Amit Mitra in New Delhi.

K. Jayaraman, the deputy inspector-general of the anti-corruption wing of the state police, will be the new commissioner. The Siliguri Metropolitan Police was established on August 4 last year and Kumar was the first commissioner.

Kumar, a 1998 batch IPS officer, will join as the deputy inspector general at the Police Training College, Barrackpore.

The transfer comes after CPM and SFI workers and leaders were arrested after repeated clashes between them and Trinamul supporters in Siliguri on April 10 and former state minister Asok Bhattacharya and Darjeeling CPM secretary Jibesh Sarkar were detained from the party office.

According to sources in Trinamul, north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb had called up chief minister Mamata Banerjee and complained about the police’s failure to control the situation.

“The first round of clash was managed by the police though the commissioner stayed seated in his office, which is only one-and-a-half kilometres from the spot. He arrived at the spot about an hour after the incident,” said the Trinamul source.

“Deb had pointed out that the situation had turned normal and he (Deb) left Hill Cart Road. However, another round of clash ensued and the police could not prevent it.”

Trinamul said the arrest of the CPM leaders had given the Left undue political mileage and it was also a reason for Kumar’s transfer. “His (Kumar’s) decision to enter the CPM district office in Siliguri and detain leaders like Asok Bhattacharya, Jibesh Sarkar and Saman Pathak further tarnished the government’s image. The arrests handed the Left an opportunity to project itself as a victim before the people,” said the Trinamul leader.

But a source in the home department in Calcutta said: “The transfer order has nothing to do with the political clash,” said the official.

Asked about the transfer, Deb said: “I have yet to get official information about the transfer and have learnt it from the media. It is entirely a decision taken by the state home department and I don’t want to comment on it.”

The leader of the Opposition, Surjya Kanta Mishra, said the Commissioner had been made a “scapegoat.”

“The government and Trinamul made him a scapegoat, like some other senior police officials who had faced similar actions in the recent past. It was at the local minister’s instructions that Trinamul cadres attacked us,” he said here.

Mishra also alleged that a section of Trinamul leaders had planned to set afire Anil Biswas Bhawan, the Darjeeling district CPM office, during the clash on April 10.