The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 8 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

‘Fine’ for party switch

Tamluk, July 7: A Haldia farmer who switched over to the BJP from Trinamul before the Lok Sabha polls has alleged that local workers of the ruling party have prevented him from cultivating his land after he refused to give away a portion of his plot or pay them Rs 2 lakh.

Utpal Majhi said in his complaint to East Midnapore district superintendent of police S.K. Jain last week that members of the Trinamul-run Deulpota panchayat had ordered him in a kangaroo court on April 1 to give away 0.11 acres or pay the money as “fine for torturing my wife”.

Trinamul has said the demand was made by “villagers and not party members”.

According to the 35-year-old farmer, Trinamul workers of his village had forced his wife to write a false complaint against him to the panchayat alleging domestic violence. The kangaroo court, Utpal said, was held on April 1 to hear the complaint. Utpal was asked to give away a portion of his 0.33 acres or pay Rs 2 lakh to the panchayat as “fine”.

Naming panchayat member Goutam Maji as heading the kangaroo court, Utpal said the fine amount was brought down to Rs 50,000 after repeated pleas by the farmer and his wife Bhabani. “When I declined to part with the land or pay them the money and lodged a police complaint on April 3, they persuaded farm labourers against working on my land,” Utpal said.

Goutam Maji admitted that a kangaroo court had been held on April 1, but added that the demands were made by “the villagers”. “The demand for money or land had nothing to do with him being a BJP supporter,” Goutam Maji said.

Utpal also accused the police of inaction, saying his earlier complaint on April 3 “was not taken seriously”.

Police chief Jain said this evening: “I will look into the complaint.”