The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Leaders on list of murder accused
- 40 arrested for killing & assault

Cooch Behar, Sept. 26: Bangshibadan Barman, the secretary of the Greater Cooch Behar People's Association and Jyotish Chandra Sarkar, its president, have been accused in an FIR filed by police constable Gorey Tamang.

A case of lynching an additional police superintendent and two policemen on September 20 during a hunger strike-cum-rally had been registered with the Siliguri police station. The case was later forwarded to the Kotwali police here.

Twenty-seven others have been also included in the list of accused.

Tamang' the security guard of Mustaq Ahmed, the additional police superintendent of Kalimpong ' is currently at a private nursing home in Siliguri after he sustained injuries inflicted by a crowd. Ahmed and two constables ' Gour Chandra Dhar and Jogesh Chandra Sarkar'were killed in a mob flare-up at Chakchaka, 6 km from here.

District police superintendent Jagmohan, while confirming that 27 persons including Barman and Sarkar, have been included in a murder case, said: 'We have arrested 40 people in connection with the murder and for assaulting policemen and breaching the peace.' More arrests are in the offing, he added.

On the possibility of being arrested, a visibly-scared Barman said he would let the law run its course.

On September 20, the police had blocked all the roads to the town to prevent thousands of people marching to the district magistrate's office for a mass hunger strike, demanding a separate state. As the men in khaki lathicharged to disperse the crowd that had assembled despite prohibitory orders under Section 144, the crowd turned hysterical and started beating up the policemen.

'Jyotish and myself were not at the Chakchaka gathering. I was at Bhetaguri, Dewanhat and Ghughumari during the demonstrations,' Barman said.

He said members of his organisation were peace-loving. 'I want a probe to be conducted to get to the truth about who killed the policemen,' he said.

Barman claimed that at all the sites that he visited, he met senior police officers. 'Let any officer state on oath that he had seen me at Chakchaka,' he said.

Ever since the hunger strike and blockade were lifted from Bhetaguri on Friday, Barman and the association's cultural secretary, Asutosh Barman, have been staying together. 'We are afraid that we will be attacked by members of the Left Front. They are drawing up a list of our members,' Asutosh said.

He alleged that the Forward Bloc and the CPM were already doing the rounds of the villages shouting provocative slogans like Greater-er chamra tule debo amra (We will skin the Greater members).

'Dark days are in store for us, but we will face them peacefully as we are not afraid to give our lives for our cause,' Barman said.

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