The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quit chorus for tainted cops

The heat on the policemen accused of muscling their way into the marital world of Rizwanur Rahman and Priyanka Todi was turned up a notch on Tuesday, with the governor and senior CPM leaders voicing their demand for justice.

Rizwanur, a 30-year-old graphics designer, was found dead on September 21, days after the police played a dubious part in forcing him and wife Priyanka apart.

Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi set the tone on Gandhi Jayanti at a function in Barrackpore. “This is an extremely sad incident. I feel the pain of the bereaved family members of Rizwanur Rahman. A proper inquiry will be held and no culprit will be spared. A noteworthy factor of the incident is that the people of the entire state have come forward,” observed the governor.

That spontaneous response is evident at the 18-hours-a-day candlelight vigil being conducted by Calcuttans outside the St Xavier’s College gates. The signatures of support at the site had crossed 3,000 by Tuesday evening, Day 5 of the vigil. And the protest messages of the common man were echoed by CPM leaders on Tuesday.

Mohammad Selim led the way by stressing that the state government must initiate “proper action”. On the sidelines of a programme of the West Bengal Minority and Finance Development Corporation, the CPM parliamentarian said: “Suitable action is needed to remove people’s doubts on what the police had done to Rizwanur and Priyanka. The police authorities showed their high-handedness. Senior officers are accountable to the public and must consider whether to step down or go on leave in the interest of investigations.”

Selim made it clear that “everyone involved in the Rizwanur case should be interrogated” and “the government should ensure their presence at Bhabani Bhavan’’.

The police officers accused of harassing Rizwanur and Priyanka at the behest of Ashok Todi are Gyanwant Singh, the deputy commissioner (headquarters), Ajoy Kumar, the deputy commissioner (detective department), Sukanti Chakraborty, the assistant commissioner (anti-rowdy squad), and Krishnendu Das, a sub-inspector (anti-rowdy squad).

CPM central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty did not mince words. “It was absolutely wrong on the part of police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee to defend his IPS officers by convening a media conference. It’s for the senior officers to decide whether to stay put or proceed on leave.”

If state minority affairs minister Abdus Sattar felt that the chief minister is “the appropriate authority” to decide on steps to be taken against “the police officers who can’t escape guilt”, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty demanded removal of the accused cops for the sake of “transparency in the inquiry”.

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