Zarina Biwi (left) with Brinda Karat in Birbhum’s Suri on Sunday
Labhpur, Aug. 3: Most policemen have gone and Manirul Islam’s men have returned, Zarina Biwi alleged today.
Zarina, whose three sons were killed allegedly at a kangaroo court in Trinamul MLA Manirul’s home four years ago, said four of the six security personnel assigned to guard her Birbhum home had been withdrawn.
Taking advantage of the depleted security cover, Zarina alleged, four motorbike-borne men came to her house in Labhpur yesterday and threatened the family with dire consequences if it did not withdraw the court case demanding a CBI probe into the murders.
Manirul was not available for comment.
According to Zarina’s family members, a person whom they could not identify came minutes before the four men arrived. “He whispered something to the two civic police personnel patrolling the area, following which they left. The bike-borne men then came and threatened us,” said Sheikh Firoz, Zarina’s grandson.
Following alleged threats by Manirul’s aides, Calcutta High Court had last month ordered police protection for Zarina and her family. On July 16, two constables armed with rifles and four lathi-wielding civic police personnel had been deployed in a camp set up in an under-construction building 200 metres from Zarina’s home.
According to the plan, one constable and two civic police personnel took turns to patrol the area within 500 metres of the rented house round the clock for the first seven days.
But they allegedly became irregular after that. After another five days, the two constables were withdrawn, according to Zarina and her family.
Two of the four civic police personnel also allegedly disappeared within a few days. For the past few days, only two civic police personnel have been patrolling the area, but irregularly.
Birbhum police chief Alok Rajoria said he did not know if the security personnel had been withdrawn.
“We are providing security to Zarina Biwi on the basis of a high court order. It is not right if the armed policemen have been withdrawn. I will speak to the local police about the allegation,” Rajoria said.
The police officially denied removing the personnel from the camp near Zarina’s home. Police sources, however, said four of the six personnel had been withdrawn because of a force shortage at Labhpur police station.
Anarul Sheikh, one of Zarina’s five surviving sons, today alleged that the police cover was an eyewash.
“Providing security at Sanwar’s (another of Zarina’s sons in whose rented house in Labhpur she lives) place is an eyewash. Within a week, two armed policemen were withdrawn. Now, only two civic police personnel patrol the area near the house. Manirul’s aides have started threatening my mother again,” Anarul said.
Zarina said the police were helpless. “What will the police do? They are following the orders of MLA Manirul and his aides. Yesterday, four of Manirul’s men came on bikes and threatened us. They ordered us to withdraw the court case. We want all those accused in my sons’ murder to be arrested,” she said.
Firoz, Sanwar’s son, said he called up the local police station around 6 last evening but the cops told him to submit a complaint.
“The police know that we can’t go to the station as Manirul’s men are keeping watch on us. We are being threatened at home. God knows what will happen if we step out. We want to stay alive,” Firoz added.
The sources in Labhpur police station said security could not be provided to Zarina for a longer period because of the scarcity of personnel. Calcutta High Court had directed the police to provide security to Zarina till further orders.
“Labhpur police station has 55 armed policemen apart from officers. But 30 of them are busy with duties at various camps in Subalpur, Jamna and their neighbouring areas. How can we spare two armed personnel? We now have only 27 policemen, including NVF personnel, at the station. As there has been no problem at Zarina’s home, we withdrew some of the personnel,” an officer said.
Today, Zarina and three of her sons met CPM MP Brinda Karat in Suri and said they were feeling insecure.
“Zarina Biwi’s family is facing threats because of lack of security. Manirul Islam is, however, getting police security. We will remain with Zarina and her family till justice is done,” Brinda said.