Calcutta, March 11: An officer and a jawan marched into the office of the domestic airport manager and beat up staff after an army car was ordered out of a no-parking zone this morning, a police complaint said.
According to the complaint filed at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport police station, Arun Kumar Dey and Rezzak Ali were beaten up by the armymen who also tried to attack the manager, Mihir Sarkar.
The army has denied the men beat up staff inside the airport building or that the officer was involved. “There was a scuffle outside the terminal. A police vehicle was also parked in the no-parking zone,” a spokesperson at Fort William said.
The complaint said a white Ambassador hired by the army and driven by a jawan was waiting in a no-parking area while the officer went in for some work.
Around 8.30 am, an airport security employee asked the driver to move the car but jawan Ram Vir refused. Sarkar was informed and he came out and ordered the vehicle shifted. An argument and a scuffle followed, after which the manager went back inside.
The car stayed in the no-parking zone.
A few minutes later, the officer, whom the army said it was unable to identify, arrived. Hearing of the incident, he strode back into the airport building with the jawan.
“Two men in army fatigues stormed into the domestic manager’s office and started abusing him. They were about to beat him up when Arun and Rezzak tried to resist,” said Subodh Das, an employee who was witness to the incident.
Arun is an office assistant on duty at the manager’s office and Rezzak is a security guard.
“The armymen beat them up causing injuries, and Arun’s shirt was torn. They also kicked the walls and doors of the office,” another employee said.
As news spread, airport staff rushed to the spot and stopped the armymen. Around 8.45 am, the officer and the jawan from Barrackpore Cantonment left the airport.
“A case has been started against both the army personnel,” said Vageesh Mishra, inspector-general of police (South Bengal range).
Agitated airport staff gathered outside and threatened to stop work if action was not taken. They said the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel who were on duty did nothing to stop the armymen. “They were mute spectators,” an official said.
The employees got back to work only after senior airport and police officials came and promised action. However, they have threatened a ceasework if nothing is done within 24 hours.
“The army movement control officer-in-charge, attached to the airport, has assured us that action will be taken,” said airport director V.K. Monga. “Everyone must comply with the rules and park vehicles at proper parking areas.”
The army, which has denied the soldiers had entered the manager’s office, said: “We are investigating the matter and will speak to the jawan. If he is found guilty, action will be taken against him.”
“Since the officer was inside the airport and not present at the spot where the scuffle took place, there will be no probe against him,” the army spokesperson added.