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Cops for poll duty block road

Burdwan, July 16: About 350 Calcutta police personnel bound for poll duty in North 24-Parganas today blocked the Burdwan-Katwa state highway at Bhatar for over an hour, saying the vehicles assigned to transport them were inadequate.

The team was heading to Swarupnagar, which goes to polls on July 19. The blockade left at least 200 vehicles stranded.

Senior officers of Calcutta police admitted that the behaviour would “tarnish the image of any law-enforcing agency”.

“Our men behaved like political activists. Despite being law enforcers, they broke the law. Whatever the reason was, they shouldn’t have behaved like that. It will tarnish the image of any law-enforcing agency. We will decide on action against them after the poll process is over,” said a senior officer at the Lalbazar police headquarters.

A police officer in Burdwan’s Bhatar said the buses to transport the 350 personnel to Swarupnagar were supposed to have been arranged by the North 24-Parganas police.

“Only nine buses were sent, which were inadequate. Of them, one bus broke down,” the officer said.

The officer in charge of Bhatar police station, Sanjoy Kundu, said he arranged for two more buses after the protest.

The Calcutta police team continued with the blockade even after the two buses arrived. “We requested them with folded hands but they refused to listen,” the officer said.

According to him, some in the team hurled stones at local buses that were stranded. They also pelted the nearby police quarters with stones, he added.

A senior police officer said: “We lodged a suo motu complaint against the Calcutta police personnel.”

Burdwan superintendent of police S. M. H. Meerza said: “ They left for their destination after 5pm.”

Trauma cry

A group of 53 policemen squatted on the road in front of Alipore Bodyguard Lines and refused to go for poll duty to Bishnupur in South 24-Parganas, saying they were in “trauma” after the bus they were travelling in met with a minor accident in Howrah in which one policeman was injured.

Senior police officers later persuaded them to head to Bishnupur.