Cooch Behar, March 17: Samiruddin Mian, a prime accused in the Chheramari gangrape, may have his backers in the higher echelons of the CPM but a decade-and-a-half ago, he was the party’s enemy No. I.
Once a Congress panchayat member, Samiruddin, Kalsada to local residents, jumped the ship and joined the CPM in 1995. The ruling party, which had once labelled him as a “notorious anti-social” and run a campaign against him, had no qualms accepting him as one of them.
The reason: a turf war. As the CPM fought to wrench Ghoksadanga — a police station area that includes Chheramari village — from the Congress, Samiruddin, known more for his brawn than brain, was seen as a “prize catch.”
And it suited the man, facing several police complaints, down to the ground. What else could have provided him more immunity from the law enforcers running after him'
As Samiruddin went from being a “hated” Congressman to a “trusted” lieutenant of the CPM in the mid-nineties, his past was conveniently buried under the dictum of political expediency.
For his part, the man, using his muscle power, helped the CPM establish control in the Ghoksadanga area. He reportedly played a key role when the CPM wrested the Unnisbisha gram panchayat from the BJP-Trinamul Congress combine two years ago.
Samiruddin’s importance to the party was evident when tourism minister Dinesh Dakua defended him in front of whirring television cameras at Writers’ Buildings, hours after he was arrested in connection with the gangrape of the 28-year-old housewife at Chheramari.
“Samiruddin is the victim of a political conspiracy. We will help him fight his case legally,” Dakua, a CPM leader from Cooch Behar, said.
Back in 1985, the CPM-dominated Jayantirhat-Unnishbisha Nagarik Committee had, however, taken pains to distribute leaflets against “Kalsa Mian”, urging people to “unite against his criminal activities”.
One such leaflet, issued in 1985 and in possession of The Telegraph, listed in great detail his activities, ranging from “cattle lifting to hooliganism.”
It gave details of the complaints the Harishchandrapur anchal pradhan, among others, had lodged against him with the district administration.
“The same CPM once called Kalsa an anti-social, but is now going out of the way to defend him as he helped the party build its vote bank in our area. But I won’t let him get off so easily after what he has done to me,” the victim said.
Local CPM MLA Sudhir Pramanik acknowledged that Samiruddin had left the Congress for the CPM. “But there is nothing wrong in that. Actually, all the cases against him are false. He is too gutsy, so at times lands himself in trouble,” he said.
CPM district secretary Chandi Pal said Opposition parties conspired to “put Samiruddin in trouble. We have asked the police to find out the truth about the gangrape”.
Trinamul district president Rabindranath Ghosh said the CPM leaders were defending the accused “in their own interests”.
“They know if Kalsa opens his mouth, several of them will find themselves in jail,” said Ghosh.
Pramanik refused to comment on the leaflets his party had issued against him. “All I can say is that he is innocent. He has been framed in the gangrape case,” he said.