The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shield for torture trio

Burdwan, July 21: The employers of Pradip Majhi, who was brutalised for allegedly stealing Rs 1 lakh from the wholesale medicine shop where he worked, evaded arrest by securing anticipatory bail.

Proceedings are yet to start against Mantu Tah, Raju Tah and Bhombol Bhattacharya, owners of Tah Enterprises, where Pradip worked. The Citu-affiliated medicine shop workers’ association filed an FIR against the trio at the Burdwan police station last night. Pradip’s elder brother, Dilip, had also lodged an FIR against them.

The owners have recovered the money that Pradip had allegedly stolen. He was lashed with belts, hit with wooden planks and slashed on the wrists for about 10 hours on Saturday. The trio charged him with the theft when he went to open the shop at Kalyani market in Burdwan town that morning.

Pradip was then dragged to the Bengal Chemists and Druggists’ Association office at Khoshbagan, a kilometre away.

There, between the lashing, clobbering and slashing, burning bidis were pressed against his hands and chips of ice held against his scrotum. After forcing him to give a written declaration that he was not tortured, the employers threw him out of the office.

Pradip was rushed to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital by people who spotted him with the marks of injury. As he lay in hospital, the Citu-affiliated union members besieged the police station here for over an hour, demanding the trio be arrested. The union has given the police 24 hours to take action. Medicine shops in the area barely functioned today as employees stayed away.

Sub-divisional officer Nabagopal Hira said Mantu, Raju and Bhombol obtained bail from the court this morning. The trio could not be traced all of last evening. “Both the administration and the police will hold independent inquiries into the incident,” Hira said.

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