Calcutta, Feb. 3: A block development officer in South 24-Parganas was today beaten up when he allegedly picked up a police baton and tried to control restive villagers standing in a queue for five hours to get their ration cards updated.
Tridib Sarkar, the BDO of Mathurapur II, has been admitted to a private hospital off EM Bypass with cuts and bruises on his face and hands. Doctors said the condition of Sarkar, who suffers from hypertension and is a diabetic, was stable.
South 24-Parganas police said around 2,500 villagers had assembled outside the panchayat office in Companythek, around 75km from Calcutta, this afternoon for making various changes in their ration cards. Some of them had brought their children along.
“The queue was moving slowly and the villagers were becoming impatient, particularly those who had brought their children along. When they started shouting, the BDO came out of his office,” a police officer said.
The villagers complained that Sarkar picked up a baton from a civic policeman standing near the queue and tried to control the crowd.
“We were standing in the long queue for five hours and it was moving slowly. We got enraged when the BDO threatened us with a stick,” said Maya Naskar, who had come with her 13-year-old son.
The police officer said the villagers surrounded the BDO and slapped and punched him.
“A group of civic police personnel rescued Sarkar and chased away the villagers. Five villagers suffered minor injuries when they fell while fleeing,” the officer said.
Sarkar was taken to a local health centre, from where he was shifted to the Calcutta hospital.
Sub-divisional officer Santanu Basu said an inquiry had been ordered.