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Which police? this police

"If they come, keep axes and daggers with you. You hit them. Split their heads. Then who takes you to jail I will see… Tapas Paul will see… which policeman can do what to you"

[ Excerpts from a third speech delivered by Trinamul MP Tapas Paul on June 14 in Nadia and aired by ABP Ananda on Thursday ]

The Trinamul Congress has said the matter has ended but tapes featuring blood-curdling calls to savagery by Tapas Paul continue to surface. On Thursday, a third speech by the MP was aired in which he is openly telling supporters to split opponents’ heads (“maatha madhyikhan korun”) with axes and daggers. He assures the crowd that he will personally see to it that no policeman can touch them.

The words appear to have had a prophetic touch. No policeman in Bengal had dared touch Paul till Thursday night — 72 hours after the first speech was made public.

Not that the police department, which reports to chief minister Mamata Banerjee who also holds charge of home affairs, needed any complaint. There are enough legal provisions for the police to act on their own.

But three separate complaints have been lodged in two police stations, denying the police the fig leaf of an excuse that there was no complaint.

Sources in both police stations said they had forwarded the complaints to “superiors” for instructions. No one would explain why they needed instructions from “superiors” to do their job, for which the taxpayers are paying their salaries.

Questions on Paul were met with the following 24-word reply by Trinamul national spokesperson Derek O’Brien on Thursday: “The party has strongly condemned his crass, insensitive comments and accepted his contrite, unconditional written apology to all. We have nothing more to add.”

 

The list of the “superiors” and how they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

  HOME MINISTER

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is also the home minister of Bengal, which makes law enforcement her direct responsibility. Here’s what Mamata said on Thursday: “Ekhon to dekhchhen, bhalo kaajer kono naam hoy na. Ekta chhotto keu kichhu ekta na holeo, holeo, beriye porchhe romm romm romm romm korey (As you can now see, nobody talks about good deeds. But some paltry thing or the other — whether or not it happens — it’s being aired with a bang).”

Mamata added: “Slander, disinformation is being planted and spread. Therefore, in such a situation, remember that you alone can protect yourselves.”

 DGP

As the director-general of police, G.M.P. Reddy is the senior-most officer in charge of Bengal police. The uniformed men and women of Bengal police will be looking up to him to reply to Paul’s open assurance to would-be head-splitters that he would see which policeman can do what to them (“kon police aapnader ki kore ami dekhbo”). Presumably busy charting his course of action, the DGP could not be contacted on phone despite repeated attempts by this newspaper

 IG (LAW AND ORDER)

Anuj Sharma, the inspector-general of police, is responsible for enforcing law and order. On Tuesday, asked why the police were not acting on their own under the provisions of Section 23 of the Indian Police Act and Section 115 of the Indian Penal Code, Sharma had said: “I have nothing to comment about in this particular case at this juncture.” Two days have passed but Sharma has not yet crossed “this juncture”. On Thursday, he too was unavailable for comment.

 SP, NADIA

Arnab Ghosh took over as Nadia superintendent of police this week after a stint in Biddhannagar where he was associated with the Saradha probe that has not yet unearthed any Paul-like tapes. The three complaints against Paul’s speech have been forwarded by the police stations to the SP. On Wednesday, Ghosh had said that he would examine the complaints. On Thursday, he was not available for comment, probably because he was examining the complaints.

 

The instances show how the police have acted without examining complaints for long — so long as it pleased “the superiors”.

Joke

Action: Police arrest Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra on April 13, 2012, on the charge of forwarding a joke on the chief minister

How fast? Mahapatra was brought to the police station even before some Trinamul supporters had lodged an FIR. He was questioned for two hours and arrested. Earlier, the professor had been roughed up at his housing complex

Question

Action: Shiladitya Chowdhury, a farmer in West Midnapore, was arrested from a rally ground at Belpahari on August 8, 2012, for asking the chief minister questions on fertiliser prices in the middle of her speech

How fast? Chowdhury was dragged away from the rally ground as soon as the chief minister branded him a “Maoist”

Kerosene

Action: Pest controller Jyotirmoy Nandi was arrested on November 30, 2013, after kerosene was found on the floor of a room in Writers’ Buildings. The home secretary — who is unlikely to have spoken without orders from above — smelt a “conspiracy to set the Writers’ Buildings ablaze”

How fast? Four hours after the conspiracy theory was made public, Nandi was summoned to a police station and arrested post-midnight