Khejuri boycotts police - Trinamul uses Salboni tactic

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  • Published 13.06.09

Khejuri, June 13: Policemen in Khejuri today tasted what their colleagues in Salboni faced two months ago — a social boycott — but by the Trinamul Congress and not tribals.

Trinamul today asked Khejuri residents to stop co-operating with the police until 13 of its activists, arrested for allegedly torching CPM offices on June 9, were granted bail.

“Don’t sell your things to policemen. Don’t cook their food or carry drinking water for them,” an announcement from a loudspeaker said.

Fourteen Trinamul activists were arrested after the party “reclaimed” Khejuri on June 9. One was granted bail today; the rest were sent to jail custody on charges of arson and rioting.

The police were supposed to produce the 14 in a Contai court yesterday but could not. The reason: Trinamul activists had blocked the road with tree trunks — another tactic borrowed from the protest in Lalgarh, neighbouring Salboni.

This morning, policemen were seen clearing the logs from the road. Trinamul leaders, however, claimed the accused could be taken to court only because the party had lifted the blockade.

Matters worsened for the cops after an uncle of one of the accused —Rakesh — died of a stroke.

“Some of Rakesh’s relatives snapped the electricity connection to the Khejuri police station and disconnected telephone lines, alleging his detention had led to his uncle’s death,” a police officer said.

Shyamal Mishra, the Trinamul secretary of Khejuri block, said: “Although we lifted the blockade, we have started socially boycotting the police from today for an indefinite period for slapping non-bailable charges of arson against our men.”

In Salboni, the tribals had prevented 90 policemen in a camp from buying provisions for days, almost forcing them to starve. The police had to close the camp and leave. The People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, spearheading the protest in the tribal zone, today said the boycott had been lifted.

In Khejuri, where about 200 personnel are scattered across seven camps and a police station, the force has brought truckloads of provisions from Tamluk as well as a few cooks.

In Calcutta, home secretary Ardhendu Sen criticised the boycott. He said the Maoists, believed to be behind the Lalgarh movement, “can boycott the police as they have no faith in the Constitution. But Trinamul, which believes in a democratic set-up, cannot do so.”

Villagers in the area, which was under CPM control till a week ago, appear ready to obey the Trinamul diktat.

“Two constables came to my tea stall at noon but I refused them for fear of a backlash from Trinamul leaders,” said Rabin Gaunia, whose stall is located beside Khejuri police station.