Calcutta, Dec. 6: The subdivisional police officer of Nadia’s Tehatta, Sailesh, should not have ordered a lathicharge on a 700-strong mob when he was accompanied by only 25 policemen, said a report prepared by the additional director-general of police, law and order.
“The lathicharge by the police in Tehatta was unnecessary and the SDPO should have continued dialogue with the protesters,” said the report submitted by ADG Surajit Kar Purakayastha early this week to chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Sources in the home department said the report suggested that Sailesh should have waited for reinforcements before ordering the lathicharge during the flare-up on November 14 over shifting the venue of a Jagaddhatri puja.
One person was killed during the firing. According to the sources, the report said the SDPO should have first fired in the air to scare away the crowd.
The report criticised the role of the officer in charge of Tehatta police station, Debaprashad Pouranik, who had allegedly left the SDPO to fend for himself.
Sailesh had taken shelter in a house and had allegedly fired three rounds at the mob from the roof of the building.
“Sailesh told the ADG during the probe that he had exercised the right of self-defence as the mob would have killed him and his bodyguards,” a Writers’ source said.
The ADG’s report said the situation spun out of control after the SDPO ordered the lathicharge.
Citing the report, a senior police officer said: “The problem had almost been sorted out through dialogue. The protesters had lifted their blockade. But Sailesh lost his cool seeing a group of 15 to 20 youths blocking bus movement again and ordered the lathicharge. The issue could have been resolved again through dialogue.”
Some senior IPS officers said the state government decided to go slow and not take any drastic action against Sailesh because it did not want to antagonise IPS officers.
“There was resentment among a section of IPS officers after the removal of the Birbhum police superintendent a day after the land clash in Loba last month. The panchayat polls are drawing near and the government does not want to antagonise IPS officers now,” a source said.
“The SDPO is now on leave,” a senior police officer said. Deputy superintendent of police Mir Saidul Ali is filling in for him.