Mamata at the Loba rally on Tuesday. (Sanat Kumar Sinha)
Loba, Dec. 4: A police officer was removed soon after Mamata Banerjee made an unscheduled visit to a land-clash zone and ran into a chorus of “No” when she asked a rally if he had been shifted as she had ordered.
The officer in question, Dubrajpur police station officer-in-charge Arnab Guha who was part of the team that cracked down on a group guarding an excavator, was present at the venue of the chief minister’s rally.
Mamata asked the audience from the dais: “I have sent the SP on leave and removed the OC. Tell me, has the OC been removed?”
Many in the crowd replied in unison: “No”.
Mamata then looked at the new SP, Murlidhar, and asked: “Has the OC been transferred?”
Murlidhar told something to Mamata, who then turned to the audience and said: “The SP is saying the OC has been removed. Whose words do I believe?”
About an hour after the chief minister left, Murlidhar told The Telegraph: “The OC of Dubrajpur was removed this evening. The OC of (nearby) Khoirasole police station, Amarjit Biswas, will replace Arnab Guha.”
Asked if the step was taken after the chief minister spoke to him, the SP declined comment.
On November 6, villagers holding onto the earthmover to demand higher prices for land being acquired for a mining project had clashed with law-enforcers.
Mamata had then told reporters at Writers’ that Birbhum police chief Rishikesh Meena had been asked to go on leave and the Dubrajpur OC had been transferred. Meena and Guha had led the police team, which was accused of opening fire.
Sources said that till this afternoon, no transfer order had been issued to Guha. “Guha was on duty at Loba today. Immediately after the chief minister left Birbhum, the SP instructed him to hand over temporary charge to the second officer of Dubrajpur police station,” an officer said.
At the Loba rally, Mamata assured villagers that they could “sleep without any worries” as the government “would not take away” their plots.
Trinamul leader Mukul Roy was to address the rally but Mamata changed her plans last evening and decided to wrap up her Bankura rally and visit Loba on her way to Calcutta, party sources said.