The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police parade sparks public outrage

Balurghat, Oct. 14: Police paraded two couples through a crowded street in town last night, after allegedly catching them in a compromising position in a dark alley.

As public outrage against the parade welled up, the four boys and girls were told to give an undertaking, which said they had no complaints against the law enforcers. “If someone else lodges a complaint on behalf of us, we refuse to take any responsibility for it as the police are not at fault ” the undertaking reads.

Of the four, the two girls study in Class IX and Class XII respectively. One of the boys is in Class XI and the other a second year college student.

While parents of the students refused to speak “for fear of being ostracised”, the people of the town said they do not believe that the four had given the undertaking on their own.

“The logic is simple. Why will they need to do it' Why will somebody write that the police are not fault etc, etc…. It smacks of something else,” said Swarup Sanyal, a resident.

Surrounded by seven policemen, the students were made to march a stretch of almost 1km. The boys were dragged down the street by their belts, an eyewitness on condition of anonymity said.

“The girls had lowered their face in shame. It was 8.30pm and the roads were full of Puja shoppers. Everyone was staring at them. The police should have acted discreetly. Imagine their plight when relatives, friends and the educational institutes where they study come to know about it. The police are more keen on flexing muscles rather than checking crimes or helping young people,” said Sandip Sarkar, another eyewitness.

Parents of all the four were summoned to Balurghat police station last night.

According to the police, some residents of the Bazarpara Dunlop More area had complained that young couples were often found in compromising position in the by-lanes and streets of the locality after dark and were often an embarrassment to the people.

Last night, a patrolling police team spotted the two couples. “Our intention was to bring them to the police station and warn them,” said Dharmadas Chatterjee, the inspector-in-charge of Balurghat. No case has been registered against the youths.

Chatterjee was at first defensive about the undertaking. “Why should we force them to write anything' They did it on their own free will,” he said. Later, however, he admitted that the couples should not have been paraded in that manner.

The parents of the students refused comment. A family friend of one of them said they were scared that speaking to reporters might cause more trouble.

“They are afraid that the police will create problems. On top of that is the fear of being ostracised,” the family friend said.

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