|Grandson asks: "Flashing red lights, raising dust, have you come here to watch the festival of death'"
“Shala, apnara ki lalbatir gari chorey, dhulo udiye, manush morar parab dekhte eshechhen'”
Arup Modak shouted at the police team as it stepped into the courtyard of the charred residence of his grandfather Rabindranath Kar, who was burnt alive with wife Anandamoyee on Saturday morning.
“Flashing red lights, raising dust, have you come here to watch the festival of death'”
Tears rolling down his cheeks, young Arup wasn’t finished with director-general of police S.C. Avasthy. “When they were dying, I went to the police camp, asked them to come, they were all drunk.”
A group of about 50 Maoists, many said to be from Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, had attacked the Kars’ house at Bhomragarh village, about 360 km from Calcutta.
Pointing his finger at Avasthy, Arup continued: “What will you do now' We don’t want you here. We don’t need you.”
Surrounded by half-a-dozen subordinates, including inspector-general of police (western range) Banibrata Basu, Avasthy had no reply.
He looked at the young man for a few seconds and resumed questioning family members. But Gangeswar Singh, the DIG (Midnapore range), lost his cool.
“Ei, gaali ki sudhu tumi dite paro, amra parina' (Do you think only you can hurl abuses, we can’t')” he shouted back.
“Get lost and let us do our work,” Singh said, prompting Basu to step in and quieten him.
Over 50 families living in this small village were seething over police inaction.
The villagers said they did not understand why so many senior police officers had to come visiting a day after the brutal killings.
“You are wasting government money. Give the money you spend on the fuel for your car to poor people,” shouted Adwaitya Chowdhury, a villager.
The room in which Kar and his wife were burnt alive still smelled of charred flesh.
Arup recounted how he, accompanied by Kar’s security guard, Ashoke Ghosh, pleaded before the 32 policemen at the camp, less than 500 metres away. “They refused, saying nothing could be done till policemen from Bandwan police station reached.
“I told them that I will lead the police team. If the Maoists shoot, I will be the first to take the bullets. Not a soul moved.”
Senior police officials had said yesterday that the policemen had detected at least three landmines planted in front of the camp and they did not want to come out until experts came and defused them.
“Policemen could not rush to Bhomragarh because there were mines on the road leading to the camp,” said Avasthy, before leaving the village just beyond noon.
He could not explain how the policemen at the camp learnt about the landmines.
Lakshman Mahato, a cousin of Kar, refused to accept this argument, revealing that he had gone to the camp on his motorcycle. “They asked me how I reached the camp avoiding the landmines. There were no landmines. The policemen were simply scared out of their wits. The story of landmines was just an excuse.”
He said fire brigade personnel from Purulia town arrived around 6.30 am, but the policemen were not ready to accompany them to the house.
According to the police, the Maoists had kept about 30 policemen confined by apparently detonating an explosive near the camp.