The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Machan collapse nets RSP murder suspects

Gosaba (South 24-Parganas), Sept. 21: A weak machan, built as a refuge from police and a spot from where passing game could be shot, collapsed, resulting in the capture of a couple of poachers suspected to be behind the murder of three Revolutionary Socialist Party workers last month.

Yesterday morning, villagers informed the police that two persons were found unconscious in the Luxbagan forest under the Gosaba police station area of the Sunderbans.

Police officers rushed to Luxbagan and identified the two persons whom the villagers had rescued as Rahim Seikh and Latifuddin.

Both were bleeding profusely, with Rahim almost senseless and Latifuddin seriously injured. They were admitted to the local hospital.

Latifuddin later confessed to the police that they had been on the run since the three RSP workers were murdered.

There were three other persons with the two poachers on Thursday night, but they escaped.

Latifuddin revealed that ever since the killings they had been living in the forest, under the shelter of a machan constructed with branches and ropes to evade both the police and those seeking revenge, as well as to keep away from tigers.

He said that on Thursday night, when they were sleeping, the machan gave way and they crashed to the forest floor.

The additional superintendent of police (rural), S.S. Panda, said interrogations were going on.

“We hope to arrest the other persons soon. We have located their whereabouts. We are also quite confident that all of them were poachers,” Panda added.

Early this month, three RSP activists — Manoranjan Purakait, Panchanan Purakait and Harsit Purakait — were murdered when they tried to chase the poachers in the forest.

Since then the police had made some arrests but most of the attackers had fled away under the cover of darkness.

After the arrest of Rahim Seikh and Latifuddin yesterday, local RSP leaders have urged the police to speed up their search operations. They have alleged that the police are not actively pursuing the case.

Jiban Nath, the local committee member of the RSP, said these two persons were arrested because of the presence of mind of the villagers.

“Police cannot claim success for the two arrests. They should thank the villagers. If they had been more active, the arrests could have been made much earlier, as all those involved are local villagers,” the RSP activist said.

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