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EC forces cops to arrest assaulters

Malda, April 11: Malda police today picked up four persons, including a Trinamul minister’s son-in-law, for the attack on poll officials in Malda yesterday, the law-enforcers stirring into action after the Election Commission set a deadline for the arrest of those named in the FIR.

This morning, the EC sent a written order to Bengal director-general of police G.M.P. Reddy asking him to arrest the four persons named in the FIR and file an action-taken report by 5pm.

Although the poll officials had been assaulted by suspected Trinamul supporters around 9.30am yesterday for filming a campaign rally for which permission had not been taken, the police had not arrested any of those named in the FIR, including minister and Malda Trinamul chief Sabitri Mitra’s son-in-law Soumyadip Sarkar, till this morning.

Three persons — a Trinamul panchayat samiti member and two party workers — had been arrested last night on the basis of the video footage taken by the assaulted officials but none of them was named in the FIR.

A commission source said this evening: “The DGP has sent the action-taken report, which we will examine. He has been told to send a detailed probe report, too. We will take into account the second report when we investigate the allegation (of attack).”

Those arrested today — Sarkar and Trinamul workers Mukuleswar Rehman, Matiur Rehman and Jamal Sheikh — have been kept in the lock-up of Manikchak police station and will be presented in court tomorrow.

The seven arrested persons have been booked under a host of charges, including exerting undue influence during the election process and assaulting and using criminal force to deter public servants from discharging duties. The IPC sections, two of which are non-bailable, carry a maximum punishment of two years in jail.

Yesterday, Trinamul supporters led by Sarkar had kicked and punched the poll officials. Video footage showed that Malda South Trinamul candidate Moazzem Hossain, for whom the motorbike rally had been brought out, was present at the spot during the attack.