| Police patrol the streets of Sujapur. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Oct. 24: Five policemen — including an inspector — and 30 others were injured here today in separate incidents involving extortionists and Kali Puja revellers.
The clashes took place in Kaliachak and Old Malda police stations respectively.
Bombs were used freely when police arrived at Sujapur-Nayagram this morning. News of a clash between villagers and extortionists had reached the Kaliachak police around 9.30 am.
A policeman sustained severe splinter injuries and had to be admitted to the district hospital in a critical condition.
The villagers then put up a blockade on NH 34. The namaz on Id could not be offered due to the tension in the area. Latif Sheikh, a villager, alleged that “anti-social elements, led by Quddus, Hetu and Madres, had let loose a reign of terror and had been ruling the area for the past one month”. They extorted money from the villagers at the haat at the point of dagger.
Many traders had to pay Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 to buy peace. Village council meetings were held twice, but that did not help. Senior district officials, including the additional district superintendent of police Sujit Sarkar and subdivisional officer Arunima Dey, visited the spot.
In another incident, a block medical officer of health (BMOH) in the Old Malda police station area was beaten up for refusing to allow hooking of power from the hospital’s supply lines.
Inspector-in-charge of Old Malda police station Bikash Mitra and three other policemen sustained injuries from the stones that were hurled at them. According to sources, when Debashish Roy refused to give a local club the electricity connection from the block hospital to light up their Kali puja pandal, they came to his quarters today and demanded Rs 350 as subscription.
When the BMOH refused to pay up, the club members assaulted him. “Guests present in my house became nervous and I informed the police,” said Roy. The arrest of the secretary of club Dipak Mondal and a member Gopal Mondal triggered a scuffle between the police and the club members.