| The Nimati range office after it was locked up. Picture by Anirban Choudhury
Alipurduar, Nov. 6: Members of the Kalchini Block Congress Committee today locked up three forest range offices to protest against the alleged illegal arrest of Adol Basumata, who later died in prison.
All the three range offices are under Buxa Tiger Reserve (west), 5km from here.
Adol, a 22-year-old BA second-year-student who was arrested on charges of assaulting a forest official, was found dead in Alipurduar jail on November 2. His father Nagen had said Adol used to be beaten up regularly in jail. He has filed an FIR against the jail authorities with the Alipurduar police station.
Local Congress members claimed that state-level leaders of the party are coming to Kalchini to meet Adolís family to find out more about their allegations and fears.
ďThe three range offices of Nimati (28km from here), Pana (33km from here) and Hamiltangunj (34km from here) will remain locked until people responsible for this illegal arrest are punished. Yesterday. I talked to Somen Mitra and soon a delegation from PCC will be here to meet Adolís family. If necessary we will move court,Ē said Mohon Sharma, the president of the Kalchini Block Congress Committee.
On August 24, a gang of timber smugglers was caught with their loot. They, however, managed to push the deputy field director of BTR (west) A.P. Singh and East Damanpur range officer Amar Dey into the Kaljani river, near Nimtijhora, before fleeing. A team of forest officials along with police raided Adolís house ó located in Mendabari, a fringe village of the BTR ó the next day and arrested him with eight others. Singh had filed an FIR against his attackers and Adolís name had figured in it. His parents, however, claimed that Adol had been to Alipurduar Employment Exchange on August 24 to attend a recruitment drive of the West Bengal police.
Sonam Galbo Lama, the employment exchange officer, has confirmed that Adol had been there on that particular date. ďAll the candidates were present there from 10.30am to 3.30pm. I had written Ďfití on Adolís card and signed it as well,Ē said Lama.
Singh confirmed that Adolís name was in the FIR. ďIt will be proved in court whether he was innocent or not. I donít understand why a fuss is being made so long after Adolís arrest. The matter is sub-judice. About the range offices, I am discussing it with local leaders.Ē
Gaodab Basumata, Adolís mother, has not been able to get over the shock of his death. ďShe is in a sort of delirium and keeps on crying,Ē said Dhiraj, Adolís elder brother. He added that yesterday the family received a call letter for Adol for an interview to the post of a Group D employee from the Indian Railways.