| “Cover your head properly… Walk with your head bowed… Otherwise, these photographers will manage to click your face.” These were some of the instructions barked out at Bankshal Court by policemen escorting the rogue constables accused of battering Sergeant Bapi Sen to death. The cop cordon did its best to shield the five from the flashbulbs on Thursday afternoon. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
The five constables, who allegedly battered traffic sergeant Bapi Sen to death on New Year’s eve, were produced in Bankshal Court on Thursday, amid a tight security ring thrown around them by a seemingly sympathetic force.
Bapi had been severely beaten up by these five constables — Mujibur Rehman, Sekhar Bhusan Mitra, Madhusudhan Chakraborty, Pijush Goswami and Sridam Bauri — late on the last night of 2002, when he tried to stop them from teasing a girl riding pillion on a motorcycle on Nirmal Chandra Street. After battling for life for five days, Bapi died in Calcutta Medical Research Institute on January 6.
Before the arrival of the accused in the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) on Thursday, the cop cordon swung into action. A possé of policemen arrived and emptied the courtroom around 2 pm, announcing that “dreaded terrorist” Aftab Ansari would be brought in.
Within 15 minutes of the clear-the-way-for-Ansari move, the five rogue constables were whisked in, their faces covered with mufflers, jackets and lungis. The accompanying policemen, in a blatant display of brotherhood, helped the constables escape the media, even advising them when to duck for cover and escape being photographed.
“Mukh dhak, mukh dhak, ora chhobi tulchhey (Cover your faces, they are taking your photographs),” cried the escorts.
Inside the CMM’s court, the public prosecutor sought police custody for the constable quintet till January 18. But CMM S.C. Mishra remanded them in police custody till January 16. The public prosecutor also wanted to add Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code to the case, as Bapi had died as a result of the assault.
Thursday also revealed the initial findings of the post-mortem report, indicating that Bapi’s injury was “anti-mortem and homicidal in nature”. According to the preliminary report, which was handed over to the detectives in the afternoon, Bapi had been hit with a hard object on the back of his head.
The Telegraph had earlier quoted the driver and helper of the taxi in which the five constables had been travelling, as saying that they had hit Bapi on his head with a beer bottle. Police said doctors would submit a final report in the next few days.
Also on Thursday, Bapi’s elder brother, Anup Sen, and other family members arrived at Writers’ Buildings to meet chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. But as Bhattacharjee was not in office, they met his confidential assistant Moloy Roy and submitted a letter addressed to the chief minister. Sources said that in the letter, Bapi’s family members have requested that the sergeant’s widow, Soma, be given a job “on compassionate grounds”. The Sens have also pleaded for “speedy disposal of Bapi’s statutory dues”.
Trinamul Congress MLA Partha Chatterjee on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, recommending Bapi for a gallantry award. Chatterjee also urged the government to take care of the education of the two boys Bapi has left behind.