The two brothers on their way to meet the chief minister at Writers’ on Wednesday. (Sanat Kumar Sinha)
A reporter asks: “Do you want a job?”
The youth responds: “No, I want them hanged.”
The brothers of the college student raped and killed in Barasat met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Writers’ on Wednesday amid a growing buzz that the government was trying to placate them with a job lolly.
The Trinamul leadership worked hard to bring the two youths to Writers’.
Law minister Chandrima Bhattacharya and Barasat MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar met the girl’s family at their Kamduni home around 12.30pm and stayed there for 20 minutes.
The girl’s brothers, Sandip and Prasenjit, left their home in a police jeep around 2.40pm along with local Trinamul MLA Rathin Ghosh. The officer-in-charge of Barasat police station, the sub-divisional police officer and the additional superintendent (headquarters) tailed them.
Around 3pm, when the convoy was near Doltala in Madhyamgram, Sandip got a call and announced they wouldn’t go with the police. The politicians and the police were stumped.
The news that the brothers had refused police escort and left the convoy midway reached Mamata within minutes in the middle of her fortnightly meeting with her council of ministers.
Sources said Mamata immediately told law minister Chandrima to call food minister Jyotipriya Mullick. There was no time for pleasantries as Mamata took the phone from Chandrima and asked Mullick to make sure that the siblings came to Writers’.
Mullick, who is in charge of the party in North 24-Parganas, relayed the chief minister’s instruction to Ghosh. The mission began to pacify the brothers.
Sandip told the police that his neighbours had asked him not to travel with members of the administration. “We can go to Calcutta only with our fellow villagers,” he added.
In the meantime nearly 80 villagers from Kamduni climbed on to two trucks and set out for Calcutta.
A Trinamul leader called out: “Come with your fellowmen. But come.”
Around 3.20pm, the two brothers joined the villagers. Escorted by the OC’s car, the trucks crossed VIP Road, New Town and Science City.
There was a communication failure as a posse of policemen stopped the truckloads of angry villagers at Prinsep Ghat. The journey resumed after a flurry of walkie-talkie exchanges and clarification from two Calcutta police escorts on bikes.
But the trucks hit another roadblock — this time by Trinamul cadre at Babughat. “Only the brothers can go,” said a party worker taking instructions over the phone.
The police too insisted that only the brothers could proceed. The villagers put their feet down. A compromise emerged a while later: Sandip and Prasenjit would go to Writers’ along with four neighbours.
By then, food minister Mullick reached Writers’. He went upstairs near the chief minister’s room on the first floor and then came out of the building to stand on the road in front of the VIP gate.
Policemen had taken position at every step of Writers’ — from the VIP gate to the VIP corridor to the door of the chief minister’s room.
Mullick was constantly shouting instructions on the phone to the party workers escorting the Barasat delegation: “Se ki, Babughat? Taratari niye ay! Ar bakider cha singara khawa ar chup kore thakte bol (What! Babughat? Bring them fast. Arrange tea and singaras for the rest of the group and ask them to be quiet).”
The brothers and his neighbours arrived around 5.55pm. “What are you going to tell the CM? Is there anything in particular?” shouted a reporter as Sandip and Prasenjit alighted from a Mahindra Scorpio.
“Fanshi chai. Fanshi (We wanted them hanged),” hollered Sandip.
Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra was waiting in front of the chief minister’s room while sports ministers Madan Mitra and housing minister Aroop Biswas ushered the brothers into Mamata’s chamber. Minutes later law minister Chandrima entered the room.
The meeting lasted an hour and as the brothers were guided out, a reporter shouted from behind the police cordon: “Were you offered jobs? Will you take up government jobs?”
“Na. Fanshi chai. Fanshi, fanshi fanshi (No. We want them hanged. Hanged, hanged, hanged)” chorused the brothers. Minister Mullick had earlier offered a government job to one of the two brothers, triggering allegations that he was trying to buy them out.
Kamduni made its demand clear on Wednesday. Now, it is up to the government to show how it handles it.