Cops 'avenge' bomb attack

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By SNEHAMOY CHAKRABORTY
  • Published 26.10.14
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Bolpur, Oct. 25: Residents of Choumandalpur, the Birbhum village where bombs and bricks were hurled at police yesterday, have alleged that over 100 cops armed with scythes and axes tortured them and vandalised their homes in a late-night retribution.

“Most of the policemen were not in uniform. They hurled expletives, beat us up and threatened to kill us. Even women were not spared,” said Hafizur Rahman, a marginal farmer.

The police denied the allegations.

Many of the 200 families at Choumandalpur in Parui said they had to “pay the price” for switching allegiance to the BJP from Trinamul.

The villagers, most of whom are marginal farmers and day labourers, alleged that the police carried out the “atrocities” on the instructions of Birbhum Trinamul president Anubrata Mondal.

“This is politics of retribution,” said Atiur Rahman, a Choumandalpur resident.

Asked about the villagers’ allegation, Anubrata said: “These are lies.”

Yesterday’s attack on a police team in search of bombs was the fourth time in less than five months that law-enforcers had been targeted in Birbhum. In all the previous cases, the accused are either yet to be arrested or were promptly granted bail.

A Choumandalpur resident said the police retaliated this time because in the previous three instances, “Trinamul activists close to Anubrata were involved”.

The police and Trinamul blamed the BJP for yesterday’s attack, for which five persons have been arrested.

Choumandalpur residents alleged that the police last night broke tube wells, damaged cars, destroyed furniture and electronic appliances and threw away food.

Since the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, most of the 940-odd voters in minority-dominated Choumandalpur have switched to the BJP from Trinamul, alleging torture at the behest of Anubrata.

“We are being made to suffer for no longer supporting Trinamul. At least 25 of the village’s 140 houses were ransacked last night,” said Sheikh Sattar, whose TV set was smashed allegedly by the police.

Birbhum SP Alok Rajoria denied police involvement in the attack. “There was no raid or ransacking. It was done by the villagers themselves so that it’s easier for them to blame the police,” he said.

Birbhum BJP president Dudh Kumar Mondal said the police were being used by Bengal’s ruling establishment to counter the rise of the party.

District Trinamul vice-president Malay Mukherjee said: “The police are acting on their own. Trinamul has no role in this.”

An officer claimed that the five persons arrested for the attack on the police were BJP supporters. They have been remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody as the police did not seek their custody.

Asked if the five were BJP supporters, Dudh Kumar said: “Could be.”

Two of the arrested persons, however, told reporters while being taken to court that they were Trinamul supporters.

Anubrata said he did not know any of the five.

The CID today detonated the 500 bombs seized from a health centre in Choumandalpur yesterday. The bombs were detonated in a deserted area inside the Sattar primary health centre compound.