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Two dads and a ‘visitor’ held

Calcutta, Sept. 14: The fathers of two students of Christ Church Girls’ High School in Dum Dum and a meat shop owner were arrested today in connection with Thursday’s vandalism.

Police sources said they were scanning evidence to identify more people involved in the attack.

The first arrests came almost 48 hours after the incident amid mounting criticism of the way the police had treated the school’s teachers and the vandals despite clinching evidence against the latter.

Biswajit Chakraborty, Dhiren Rajbangshi and Golam Mohammad Ali were picked up from their homes and slapped with a slew of charges.

The trio could be jailed for up to seven years if proved guilty. The Barrackpore court has sent them to police custody for three days.

“The three have been arrested based on a complaint lodged with Dum Dum police station by one of the school’s teachers,” said Debasis Bej, deputy commissioner of police, detective department, Barrackpore commissionerate. “We are on the lookout for the others involved in the vandalism.”

The police, which had arrested and charged the school’s principal with abetting a Class V student’s suicide even before any evidence had emerged to suggest she had killed herself and also extortion, had dragged their feet on arresting the vandals.

A senior minister had told The Telegraph yesterday that the chief minister was not happy with the police’s response to the crisis. “She asked why none of the attackers could be arrested in two days, though they were all over TV and in newspapers,” he said.

The Church of North India has refused to accept the principal’s resignation, submitted under pressure from the mob, and said it would conduct its own inquiry.

The Barrackpore police brass got cracking today.

“Our officers had collected the names, addresses and mobile numbers of some of those who led the agitation. We rounded up three of them from their homes,” a senior officer of Dum Dum police station said.

Three women about whom the police said they had collected detailed information are yet to be rounded up.

A lawyer for one of the arrested wondered today why only three persons were picked out from among a mob of over 1,000.

“It appears as if these three were the only one present that afternoon and the others had gone home,” said Rajbangshi’s lawyer Kaushik Mukherjee. “He had gone to drop his daughter to school.” Baranagar resident Rajbangshi’s daughter is a Class VI student of the school.

Chakraborty, whose daughter is in Class V, lives in Dum Dum and was one of those most active against principal Helen Sircar. During the violence, he had told this paper that “the principal is like Hitlerů she wants to have the last word on all issues”.

Golam Mohammad is a meat seller who went to see the melee and then joined in the attack.

THE CHARGES

The IPC sections under which the three arrested have been charged and the maximum punishment each carries

379 (theft): Three years’ jail

353 (use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty): Two years’ jail

354 (assault or use of criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty): One year’s jail

325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt): Seven years’ jail

427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 or upwards): Two years’ jail

342 (wrongfully confining a person): One year’s jail

337 (causing hurt by an act endangering human life): Six months’ jail

447 (criminal trespass): Three months’ jail

143 (unlawful assembly): Six months’ jail