Farmer Sarit Kumar Jash comes out of Burdwan police chief SMH Meerza’s office after lodging the complaint on Wednesday. Picture by Rinku Mondal
Burdwan, Sept. 26: They drove his son to suicide. They snatched his livelihood. They forced him to flee his home and live in a rented house in another village for two years.
A heart-wrenching tale of loss and trauma echoed in the Burdwan police chief’s office yesterday when an elderly farmer finally braved odds and came out to complain against six Trinamul activists.
Sarit Kumar Jash, a CPM supporter in his fifties, said in his complaint to police superintendent S.M.H. Meerza that he had to flee his Raina home within a few months of Trinamul coming to power in May 2011 after the six party activists, out on bail in a case of abetting the suicide of his only son, kept threatening him with dire consequences for months.
The Burdwan Trinamul has denied the charge.
Asked what drove his CPM supporter son to suicide, Sarit said the six Trinamul activists had ordered Manojit to join the ruling party. “When he refused, they threatened to lodge false complaints against him,” Sarit said.
“Manojit used to work as a supervisor for the rural job scheme in 2007-2008, when the Left was in power. He left the job in late 2008 and joined as a teacher in Rabindra Mukta Vidyalaya in Raina. When Trinamul formed the government in 2011, the six activists told him to join their party. When he refused, they said they would bring false charges of irregularities in implementing the job scheme during his tenure,” Sarit said.
“After days of threats and intimidation, my son drank pesticide and killed himself in July 2011. He was only 26 then,” he added, sobbing.
The Trinamul workers had been arrested on the charge of abetment to suicide on a complaint by the farmer. But after they were released on bail 15 days later, they allegedly started threatening Sarit.
The farmer said the Trinamul workers “threatened to kill me and my wife”.
“They used to accost us on roads and threaten to murder us. They ordered me to withdraw the complaint against them. The Trinamul workers prevented me from releasing fish into my pond and ensured that farm labourers refused to cultivate my land,” said Sarit, who owns three acres.
Sarit and his wife fled the village in August 2011.
“For the past two years, we have been living on whatever savings I have. I have taken a house on rent in another village,” Sarit said.
He said the Trinamul workers got his cellphone number and had been calling him up for the past six months, demanding Rs 6 lakh if he wanted to return to his village.
Sarit accused the local police of inaction, saying three complaints lodged at Madhabdihi police station in Raina had yielded no result.
Meerza said he had instructed the officer in charge of Madhabdihi police station to carry out a proper investigation.
“I have asked the OC to investigate and submit a report to me. I have also asked him to get the call details of Sarit Jash’s mobile phone and probe the allegation of the extortion bid. The OC will arrange for Sarit Jash’s security if the farmer wishes to return home,” the district police chief said.
One of the six Trinamul workers denied the allegations. “We never threatened Sarit Jash or his son. The allegations are baseless. We had merely requested him to withdraw the complaint against us,” Prabir Sit said.
The Trinamul president of Raina-II block, Ansar Ali Khan, said: “The six accused villagers are active Trinamul workers. But the charges against them are false.”