The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crowd looks away as man dies
- Aid denied for fear of ‘police harassment’

Malda, Nov. 30: An unidentified man, who had probably fallen off a moving train, had pleaded for five hours for help before dying beside the railway tracks here. Hundreds of people looked on as the man in a pink pullover with a white shirt peaking out from under it and brown trousers lay writhing in pain.

A slum spread along the tracks is home to around 5,000 people, none of whom wanted to be involved in “police harassment”.

The man in his mid-thirties had marks of serious injuries.

The GRP arrived at the spot in Jadupur, 6km from here, at 10.30am.

The people said they had informed the Malda GRP immediately after he was spotted around six in the morning. The policemen, they alleged, came five hours later to take away the body.

The local people said when the GRP police station was contacted they were told that no officers were present and the ones who were there during the night had left for home.

“They said the morning shift was yet to start and nobody had arrived. I had called them up. Others, too, had called. I had even contacted the Englishbazar police station, but they came too late and saw only the body,” said Bhadu Sarkar, a resident of the slum in Jadupur.

Gedu Sarkar, who lives in the same area, claimed that he, too, had called up the GRP.

Bhadu admitted that neither he nor his neighbours had responded to the man’s call for help. “He had multiple wounds on his face. When we went near him, he was writhing in pain. He pleaded with us, but none of us had the courage to take him to the hospital. We feared police harassment,” Bhadu said.

He added that had he extended any help, the GRP and the police would have come after him, wanting to know about his involvement with either the injured or the dead man. “If they are going to harass us, they should do the jobs like taking accident victims to hospitals on time,” said Bhadu.

Local people said the man may have fallen off a passing train. The Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail had passed around 4.20am and the Howrah-bound Intercity Express at 4am.

Both the GRP and the police have denied the charges of late arrival at the spot. An investigating officer of the GRP, Sanjit Mishra, said he had received the information about the man around 9am and had arrived at the spot within 15 minutes. “The locals said the man was alive when they found him along the tracks,” Mishra said.

The inspector-in-charge of the Malda GRP, Swapan Dasgupta, said it was incorrect that the police were late.

“We were informed at 9am and sent our men to the spot immediately. It seems the victim had fallen from a passing train. We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” Dasgupta said.

This was the third body found along the railway tracks in Malda in the past week. Last Tuesday, the body of a schoolgirl was found along the tracks near the town. She was later identified as Jyoti Das, a Class IX student from Kalighat in Calcutta. On Thursday, the body of a man was found. He is yet to be identified.

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