Two constables and two civic police personnel outside Zarina’s rented home in Labhpur on Wednesday. Zarina (in white sari) is seen standing at the door. Picture by Indrajit Roy
Labhpur, July 16: Police today started providing round-the-clock security to Zarina Biwi’s family in Birbhum, but the elderly lady who lost three sons four years ago in an attack blamed on Trinamul MLA Manirul Islam and his aides rued the delayed action.
Yesterday, Calcutta High Court ordered the Birbhum police superintendent to provide cover to Zarina, 80, and her family, who are being allegedly threatened by Manirul’s aides. A police camp was set up today in an under-construction building 200 metres from the rented house in Labhpur where the family stays.
Two constables with rifles and four civic police personnel armed with lathis have been posted at the camp. One constable and two civic police personnel will take turns to patrol the area within 500 metres of the house round the clock until further orders from the court.
The officer in charge of Labhpur police station, Debashis Ghosh, who is also the investigating officer of the 2010 triple- murder case, today visited the rented house around 10am and spoke to Zarina and her family.
As no space was found near the house to set up the camp, it was decided that the six personnel would put up at the under-construction building.
Birbhum police chief Alok Rajoria said he was yet to receive the high court’s order. “I have not received any court order so far. I thought the family needed security and so I provided it,” he said.
Zarina said the police camp did not bring any happiness to her.
“How can we be happy? In the past four years, we had requested the police several times to provide us security so that all of us could stay at home peacefully. But the police did not help us. My sons and I had to change shelters many times because of threats from Manirul and his followers,” she said.
“The police did not act when Manirul’s followers drove us out of our village (Buniadanga in the Labhpur police station area). Till two days ago, my grandsons faced threats from Manirul’s aides. Now, how can I be happy seeing the policeman?” Zarina added.
After the murder of her three sons — Koton Sheikh, Turuk Sheikh and Dhanu Sheikh — on June 3, 2010, Zarina and her remaining five sons and their families fled their home in Buniadanga.
The family members split up and began staying in various places in Birbhum, Murshidabad, Burdwan and Hooghly. Since mid-June this year, Zarina has been staying with the family of one of her sons, Sanwar, at his rented home in the rural town of Labhpur.
Sanwar, who stays somewhere else, visits Zarina and his family at the house occasionally.
Sanwar’s son Sheikh Firoz said officer-in-charge Ghosh and some other policemen asked the family this morning about a suitable location for the camp.
“We were surprised to see the police behave so politely with us. We think it is because of the court order. I asked them why they did not come to our aid earlier. We have little faith in the police. Who will protect us when we step out of the area under police surveillance?” Firoz said.
Anguri Biwi, Zarina’s daughter-in-law, said: “We told the police we would not be able to help them find a suitable place for the camp.”
Zarina said she was “too scared to speak to the police”.