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Paul can scream, boy can’t stare
- Police accused of assaulting student mother and ransacking home in flare-up zone

Bolpur, July 3: Bengal police, which have so far not heard any evil in Trinamul MP Tapas Paul’s “rape-and-shoot” speech, have been spurred to action by little more than the stare of a 12-year-old boy from his home.

Birbhum police have been accused of ransacking a house and beating up a homemaker after her son peeped at a raiding force that was responding to a political clash.

The same Birbhum police have dragged their feet as much as possible on proceeding against district Trinamul leaders such as Anubrata Mondal and Manirul Islam, both of whom are named in murder FIRs.

The Birbhum force is also part of Bengal police, which are “still studying” FIRs filed by individuals in Nadia against Paul whose party has let him off the hook after citing a letter of “unconditional apology”.

During today’s raid, 15 to 20 policemen were accused of browbeating the Class VII student and beating up his mother with sticks for making them wait at the door.

The raid was in a Birbhum pocket where a Trinamul dissident’s father was shot dead last year, four days after district Trinamul chief Mondal gave an inflammatory speech.

The raid at Parui’s Bheramari village followed complaints of Trinamul attacks since yesterday on party rebels who have joined the BJP.

When the police team — personnel from Parui police station and the Rapid Action Force — reached Bheramari today, roads were deserted and doors and windows of most houses were closed. The team, police sources said, got “suspicious” when they saw the Class VII student, Nazir Ali, peeping out of the window.

Nazir, who studies in Visva-Bharati’s Patha Bhavana school and stays in a hostel there, was at home today because of illness. He was alone when the police arrived as his mother was washing utensils in a pond behind the house, his father — a farmer — had gone to the field and his elder brother was in school.

As the police team, led by Bolpur sub-divisional police officer S.P. Yadav banged on the door, the boy, whose family said they were apolitical, got scared and did not dare open it.

“I like the job of a police officer. I like policemen walking with guns. So I had looked out of the window after hearing the sound of police boots. But when they began banging on the door, I panicked,” Nazir said.

Alerted by Nazir’s screams, his mother Sabita Bibi rushed to the house. As the policemen kicked on the front door, Sabita entered through the backdoor and opened the main one.

“When I opened the door, the police beat me up with sticks. I was hit thrice. They ransacked our house. I told them that we were not involved in any political clash but they refused to listen,” Sabita said.

Furniture was broken, a motorbike and ceiling fans were damaged and light bulbs crushed, the family said.

No person involved in the attacks or no evidence to put the police on the trail of the perpetrators was found in the house. Not all raids need to yield results but the police are not allowed to vandalise homes.

Ahmod Hossein, Nazir’s father, said: “Clashes are going on in our village between Trinamul and those who have joined the BJP recently. Bombs were hurled in the village this morning too. But I am not involved with any party or political activity. We will lodge a complaint.”

Bolpur SDPO Yadav denied the allegation of ransacking. “Furniture could have been moved during the raid. We did not intentionally ransack any house in the village. The allegation is incorrect.”

The police action has left Nazir shocked. “I will never forget this day. My mother was beaten up in front of me and my house was ransacked by the police. I used to aspire to become a police officer. But after what happened today, I will never dream of becoming a police officer,” he said.

During today’s raids, the police detained five persons in connection with the alleged attacks.

Some of the dissidents who have joined the BJP alleged that local Trinamul leader Sheikh Mostafa was leading the attacks against them. Mostafa, said to be close to district Trinamul chief Mondal, denied the allegation and said the defectors were fighting among themselves.

Mondal said: “Trinamul did not attack anyone. The allegation is baseless.”