The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police defy court fearing CPM reprisal

Calcutta, June 20: Between the ire of CPM leaders and the judiciary, police in North 24-Parganas feared the first more and sat on a high court directive to initiate a “theft case” against a CPM councillor.

Kalyani Ghosh of North Dum Dum municipality was charged with usurping a bunch of keys and three vehicles of Kajal Memorial School at Birati on the northern fringes of the city.

Several classrooms of the junior high school are now locked and the keys with Ghosh. “We are unable to run the institution... Keys of many classrooms are with the councillor,” said Derek Paschal, the principal-cum-owner.

But instead of going by the court order, the police are bent on persuading Paschal to drop the charges against Ghosh, who was elected to the municipality from ward 20.

Officer-in-charge of Nimta police station Kartic Bairagya said he could not initiate action against the “ruling bosses”, even if he was armed with a court order. “Who will be responsible if there is a law and order problem in the event of arresting the councillor'” he asked.

Ora CPMer boro neta. Oder biruddhe ladai korle amader chakrir ki hobe' (They are all CPM bigwigs. If we fight them, what will happen to our jobs'),” said a senior police officer when Paschal went to Nimta police station a fortnight ago.

Many students have dropped out since the impasse began.

“Imagine the state of affairs — police fear carrying out a high court order under threat from rowdies who identify themselves as CPM men,” Paschal said.

Trouble broke out on November 1, 2003, when Paschal took ill and had to be hospitalised. On his return, 11 days later, he found that Ghosh, local CPM councillor Sachin Sarkar, the chairman of the CPM-led municipality and some party supporters, including a section of parents, were running the school.

Ghosh apparently told Paschal: “You are a misfit and we will not allow you to run the school. In the interest of the people and students, we have decided to take over the administration.” The party, which till then had no control over the school’s affairs and little opportunity to meddle in them, forced itself in.

Paschal moved the high court, which asked police to ensure that control of his school was restored to him. But the police did not move.

Sarkar admitted that the school is now under their control. “Yes, it is true that we have taken over because Paschal is neither medically fit nor equipped to handle school affairs. We consulted CPM MLA Manas Mukherjee before taking such a step.”

Ghosh said she found nothing wrong in it. “A newspaper has no business to interfere in our affairs. I did everything after consulting party leaders,” she said. But there are some she minds more than the high court. Ghosh said if party leaders asked her to hand over the school keys and documents, she would do so.

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