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Beaten up: an IITian who dared to take on harassers

Calcutta, July 5: An IIT-Guwahati student visiting home was allegedly dragged out of his car, assaulted and threatened with a gun on Wednesday afternoon for daring to ask two motorbike-borne men not to tease a group of schoolgirls and hold up traffic.

Ricky Biswas, 20, a first-year student of chemical engineering, and cousins Avik, 19, and Ranajit, 18, were attacked on Sukanta Pally Road, barely five minutes from their house in Ichhapore, 6km from Barrackpore in North 24-Parganas.

Their ordeal didn’t end there. The trio were allegedly kept waiting at Noapara police station for nearly five hours to meet the officer-in-charge. They wanted to lodge an FIR but the officer on duty insisted that the complaint merited only an entry in the general diary.

“The men were tailing five to six high school girls, making unpleasant remarks and sometimes blocking their way. We honked repeatedly but they wouldn’t budge. I asked the duo to stop teasing the girls and move away, at which they became violent,” recounted Ricky, who was returning home after delivering invitation letters to schools for an aptitude test at IIT Guwahati.

The two, said to be in their twenties, allegedly dragged the IITian and punched and kicked him. Ricky’s cousins rushed to his rescue, only to be threatened with a single-shot gun and kicked. Class XII student Ranajit, who has two metal implants in his right thigh, was hit so hard that he slumped to the ground. “I somehow got back on my feet and pushed one of the assailants away.”

Ricky, who needed stitches on his left arm after an accident three days ago, was allegedly held against an electric pole and punched repeatedly. One of the accused, Amit Roy, then pressed the gun to Avik’s stomach and threatened to kill them. Sources said Amit, known to be a local tough, had been in jail for 27 days and released a few weeks back. Ricky and his cousins were spared only because a man who seemed to know the assailants asked them to “let the kids go”.

The accused relented but not before allegedly threatening the trio with death if their paths crossed.

Ricky, Ranajit and Avik reached home around 5.30pm and decided to lodge a complaint. The IITian, his cousins and family members reached Noapara police station around 6.30pm. A policeman asked them to wait, saying his boss would be arriving soon. “Minutes turned into hours but he did not turn up. We waited till 11pm,” Ricky said. A written complaint was twice rejected. Ricky was asked to rephrase it and he did as told. But the officer wouldn’t lodge an FIR. He was allegedly reluctant to give a stamped or signed copy of the general diary. “All this despite an officer disclosing that another complaint against Amit Roy had been lodged few hours before. We were told he had tried to molest a homemaker,” Ranajit said.

The police said the complainants a patient hearing. “I have asked an officer to conduct an inquiry and give me a report,” Sanjay Singh, commissioner of the Barrackpore police commissionerate, said.

Debasish Bej, deputy commissioner of the detective department, contested the trio’s allegation. “We did register an FIR and arrest one Sonu Singh,” he said.

Ricky and his cousins said except for a phone call, they hadn’t heard from the police.

The IITian’s father, a retired army officer who runs a construction business, said he feared for his family. For Ricky, who is due to leave for Guwahati on July 21, Wednesday evening was not just a nightmare but also an awakening. “I was planning to do MBA after BTech but I am contemplating giving the IPS a shot. Maybe becoming a police officer is the way to combat to such lawlessness.”