They went for a trek in the jungles but the police botched up their fun. Jharkhand police arrested eight youths from the Dumka Kocher forest, in the Dalma range, on suspicion that they were People’s War activists linked with last week’s landmine blast at Purulia’s Bandoan.
The youths, all from Calcutta, were identified as Amar Das, Surajit Das, Samar Kundu, Abhijit Goswami, Bidyut Dutta, Chandan Chatterjee, Soumalya Mukherjee and Rajesh Naskar. They are members of South Suburban School Nature Lover’s Club and were on an excursion to Ghatshila this month.
Ghatshila police threw them into the lock-up for more than 24 hours. However, because they had informed Bhowanipore police station about their trek before leaving the city, they were saved from further harassment.
Narayan Prajapati, officer-in-charge of Ghatshila police station, said a team of his officials were combing the hills in search of the Naxalites who triggered the blast last Saturday. The team spotted the youths and interrogated them, but found their statements contradictory.
The youths produced their identity cards, but the cops were not convinced. After several rounds of interrogation, Ghatshila police called up Bhowanipore police station. Officer-in-charge R. Roy cross-checked with the youths’ families and confirmed that they were, indeed, a trekking party.