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Wary cops name TMC leader

Subrata Bakshi at the meeting attended by Jafarul. Picture by Indrajit Roy

Illambazar, June 9: Birbhum police have included the name of a Trinamul block president in the murder of a BJP supporter in Illambazar, with local leaders of the ruling party saying that the cops were “not ready to take any chance” with the BJP that is slowly emerging as a force to reckon with in Bengal.

In their police complaint, the family of Sheikh Rahim, 55, had listed 36 people they suspected of killing the BJP supporter. The name of Trinamul block president Jafarul Islam was mentioned in the complaint, saying he had incited Trinamul supporters against Rahim and other BJP workers.

When the police recorded the FIR based on the complaint, they added Jafarul as the 37th accused on the list.

The district police, which had courted controversy by not taking action against Birbhum Trinamul chief Anubrata Mondal in the murder of a party dissident’s father before the panchayat polls last year, said the force did not want to be dragged to court as in the earlier case.

“Jafarul’s name had to be included. The family members of Rahim had alleged that Jafarul had provoked his supporters. Had his name not been included, we would have certainly drawn flak in court,” a senior police officer said.

Rahim and 12 others were attacked by a group of Trinamul supporters last Saturday. Rahim, who had switched allegiance from the CPM to the BJP along with many others to escape the alleged Trinamul onslaught in the area after the Lok Sabha elections, was declared dead on arrival at Bolpur subdivisional hospital.

Police sources said Jafarul’s name was included after the BJP stepped up heat over the murder.

State-level leaders of the BJP have already visited the area and a team from Delhi is planning a trip next week. The BJP’s minority front has said it will take out a procession in Calcutta tomorrow to protest post-poll violence in the state.

This evening, a delegation led by BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya met state director-general of police G.M.P. Reddy and the IG (law and order), Anuj Sharma, to complain about the series of attacks on party workers across the state.

Trinamul leaders and workers in Birbhum said they were not surprised with the inclusion of the block president in the list of the accused.

“The BJP will use this incident against us…. With the BJP being the party to reckon with now, the cops were not ready to take chances,” a senior Trinamul leader said.

The Birbhum BJP said the party was not happy with just the inclusion of Jafarul’s name and demanded that he be arrested.

Referring to a meeting where Jafarul was seen along with Trinamul state president Subrata Bakshi today, Illambazar BJP block president Chittaranjan Sinha said: “He was with Trinamul leaders throughout the day but the police did not arrest him. We want to see if he is arrested at all.”

Birbhum superintendent of police Alok Rajoria said the investigation had been started. “Arrests will be made if we find complicity in the crime,” he said.

The BJP’s vote share has increased in the 11 Assembly segments in Birbhum district from 4.7 per cent in the 2011 Assembly polls to almost 18 per cent in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls.

Although Trinamul candidates Satabdi Roy and Anupam Hazra won the Birbhum and Bolpur Lok Sabha seats, respectively, the BJP got leads over them in almost all the civic wards spread over the four municipalities in the district — Rampurhat, Suri, Sainthia and Dubrajpur.


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