The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ailment takes second victim in cop ranks

Four days after policemen of the Second Battalion in north Calcutta took to the streets to protest the death of a colleague from overwork, their counterparts at Bodyguard Lines, south Calcutta, demonstrated over the death of head constable Sivaprasad Das, 45, on Thursday morning.

Sivaprasad’s colleagues and relatives alleged that he was forced to work during the Test match despite being ill, and was even directed to defer his application for leave.

“He was later diagnosed as suffering from malignant malaria. If the authorities had granted him leave in the last week of October, he would have had a chance to recover,’’ his colleagues said.

Sivaprasad, admitted to the police hospital on November 4, died early on Thursday. Joint commissioner of armed police Raj Kanojia admitted that Sivaprasad was suffering from malignant malaria and that his condition deteriorated on Tuesday night.

Agitated constables forced the convoy carrying Sivaprasad’s body to take a detour from the hospital to Bodyguard Lines in the evening, and gave vent to their protest.

Sivaprasad’s brother, H.P. Das, and his relatives alleged that he had applied for medical leave in the last week of October, but Lalbazar directed him to withdraw the application and put him on duty at Eden Gardens.

Kanojia, however, denied that Sivaprasad had applied for leave. “We have checked our leave application records and found that he had not applied for any,’’ he said.

But deputy commissioner of police (headquarters) Sivaji Ghosh corrected him at the press briefing on Thursday, saying that Sivaprasad was supposed to have been on “medical leave from November 8”.

According to records available in the Seventh Battalion office, Sivaprasad had been “suffering from a mild fever” since October 23 and had consulted a local doctor. He lived in the police barracks at Alipore Bodyguard Lines.

Deputy commissioner Ghosh confirmed that Sivaprasad had been on duty during the India-West Indies Test. “He was on duty on November 4 when he fell sick after reporting for work. He was immediately taken to hospital,’’ Ghosh said.

When asked why he was put on duty when he was ill, Ghosh said Sivaprasad did not submit a medical certificate. “Nor did he apply for leave during the cricket match or even after it. He had applied for sick leave from November,’’ Ghosh said.

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