'Instigation' scan in Mamata breach

Sisters Rabia and Amira Khatun may have breached the security of chief minister Mamata Banerjee at a public meeting in Raiganj on Thursday at the "instigation of some person or organisation", senior officials have said.

By KOUSIK SEN in Raiganj
  • Published 24.02.18
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Police officers visit the ground at Hemtabad on Friday as part of the probe into the chief minister’s security breach. Picture by Kousik Sen
 

Raiganj: Sisters Rabia and Amira Khatun may have breached the security of chief minister Mamata Banerjee at a public meeting in Raiganj on Thursday at the "instigation of some person or organisation", senior officials have said.

"They crossed (the cordons) with such dexterity that most security personnel did not notice. It is unusual. We are trying to find out whether they were trained. There is strong suspicion that both had resorted to the act at the instigation of some person or organisation," an official said.

While Rabia managed to dodge the guards to reach to the podium and fall at Mamata's feet while she was delivering her speech, Amira, the elder of the siblings, was intercepted near a ramp leading to the stage.

The residents of Karandighi in North Dinajpur - of which Raiganj is the district headquarters - had claimed they wanted to meet the chief minister to appeal for "exemplary punishment" in the murder case of their father who was killed over a land dispute three years ago.

The security breach had annoyed the chief minister and prompted two separate inquiries, one by the state police chief and the other by the director (security) who oversees the chief minister's cover.

On Friday, officers said the sisters had lied to them initially. "They had said they had been to Malda where the chief minister attended a similar public meeting on February 20 but could not make it to the dais. But we have checked CCTV footage of the meeting and also the locations of their (sisters') cellphones. They did not go to Malda that day. We need to know why they made such false statements," said a police source.

Footage from the Raiganj meeting show the sisters sitting at different places in the audience around 100 metres from the dais. Large sound boxes were placed in the audience so that the chief minister could be heard clearly. The duo used the cover of these sound boxes and managed to scale five barricades - each five feet high - to reach near the stage.

The investigators are wondering whether the sisters' sole intention was to appeal to the chief minister, particularly on an issue pending with the judiciary.

A police team visited the venue on Friday and recorded the statements of the cops who were on duty on Thursday. "We are in the process of collecting information," said Shyam Singh, the police chief of North Dinajpur.

Trinamul leaders, too, suspect the sisters did not act on their own. "We are trying to collect information. It seems some organisation had engaged the two women with some purpose," said Amal Acharya, the North Dinajpur Trinamul chief.

The sisters are at the Raiganj district hospital where they had been admitted after Thursday's commotion and jostling. They have been kept in separate rooms and are being quizzed by police officers. "We are checking their call records to find out whom they had spoken with ahead of the meeting and in the past few days," said an officer.