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Security fear stalks bosses of other mills
Officials demand personal guards

Maheshwari’s body being taken for cremation to Bhadreswar on Tuesday. Picture by Ananda Das

Champdani, June 17: The chief executive officers of several jute mills in Hooghly, Howrah and North 24-Parganas today demanded police protection for senior officials, saying the killing of Northbrook president H.K. Maheshwari had left them worried about security in their factories.

The officials of 16 jute mills in the three districts held a meeting at the guesthouse of Dalhousie Jute Mill in Hooghly’s Champdani today, hours before attending Maheshwari’s funeral.

Kalyan Mitra, the CEO of Hooghly’s Shyamnagar North Jute Mills, said he and his counterparts felt that the state government should immediately address concerns over security at the factories.

“We discussed the situation among ourselves. We are all feeling insecure after Maheshwari’s murder. We have decided to meet the district superintendent of police tomorrow and seek personal security guards. We also want police pickets in every jute mill,” Mitra said.

The state government today asked the district administrations to deploy police patrols near jute mills.

According to Mitra, security review systems were in place in jute mills earlier but they were stopped over time. “There used to be periodic meetings between the managements and the police to review the law and order in the jute mills. We want the system revived.”

Ashok Kumar Singh, the CEO of Naihati Jute Mills in North 24-Parganas, echoed Mitra, saying senior officials in his factory were both terrified and shocked after the Northbrook murder.

“We are all feeling demoralised. The workers may have their own demands but they can’t commit a heinous crime like this. This is no solution. We go to the mills to work and not get killed. The unions should control their members. What happened on Sunday would send a bad message to industrialists,” Singh said.

Hooghly district superintendent of police Sunil Choudhary said he would meet the CEOs at 11.30am tomorrow.

“I will listen to them and try to solve their problems. Let me first give them a hearing,” the SP said.

Maheshwari’s body was today released from the morgue in Serampore Walsh Hospital and was taken to his flat on the jute mill premises. From there, the body was taken to Babughat in Bhadreswar, about 2km away, for cremation.

Maheshwari’s younger brother P.K. Maheshwari, a Mumbai-based cardiologist, declined comment on who he thought was responsible for the murder. “We should not come to any conclusion regarding who committed the crime. First, there should be an investigation.”

Told about the chief ministers’ blame on the CPM and the BJP, the doctor said: “I don’t want to make any comment. All we need is a proper investigation.”

District Trinamul president Tapan Dasgupta and party MLA Muzaffar Khan attended the funeral, too.

Hooghly police today arrested one more worker, Shamsul Haque, from Champdani, taking the total number of arrests to eight.