The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police boss asks protest leaders to ‘behave’

Behrampore, Oct. 21: When the government is grappling with public outrage against crippling rallies and political pressure, the Murshidabad police chief has asked politicians to be “civilised” while leading protests.

Gyanwant Singh has written to leaders of all parties in the district, asking them to behave in a “civilised and democratic” way. “Persons resorting to unlawful activities in police stations or in government offices will be firmly dealt with, irrespective of their affiliations to political parties,” read the letter.

Singh’s stricture on politicians follows a string of incidents last month in which political parties resorted to “vandalism”. “Some leaders incited mobs to beat up policemen and damage furniture. This sort of unruly behaviour on the part of political leaders has to be condemned. That is why, I have sent the copies of the letter to leaders of at least 14 political parties, asking them to be reasonable while leading demonstrations,” he said.

The leaders, understandably, were not happy. Adhir Chowdhury, the Congress MP from Behrampore, blamed the “restive” police for violent demonstrations. “Before sermonising us, the SP should set his house in order by teaching high-handed juniors how to behave with leaders,” he said.

The district secretary of the RSP, a Left Front constituent, accused the police of harassing politicians. “Before policemen start expecting us to behave, they should stop harassing us. Do you want us to appreciate policemen who refuse to accept memorandums from us'” asked Biwsanath Chatterjee.

The Trinamul Congress refused to acknowledge the significance of the letter. “It does not carry much weight as it has been addressed to all political parties. I want him (Singh) to name the party that led the violent demonstrations last month,” said Ashoke Das, the district secretary of the party.

Politicians may be squirming but Singh’s move has made the policeman happy. “Violent demonstrations are regular in almost all police stations in the district and we become easy targets. Despite best efforts to talk with the agitating leaders, they seem determined to attack us,” said Abdur Rahaman, the officer-in-charge of Khargram police station.

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