Bengal govt official arrested for harassment of BDO, kin
A state government official and seven others were arrested on Monday for allegedly preventing a woman block development officer and her family from entering their rented home here over the fear of Covid-19 spread.
The subdivisional court here remanded block agriculture officer Ananda Saha, his wife and five others in seven-day judicial custody. The eighth person was granted bail by the court. The arrested included two other women also.
Goghat 1 BDO Surasree Pal, her husband and eight-year-old daughter stay at the home rented by Saha at Mathpara in ward 14 of Arambagh Municipality. The trio had been stranded on road for three hours on Sunday as the landlord and 20 neighbours had said they could enter the home only after being tested negative for Covid-19. The news that panchayat samiti chief of Goghat 1 and three others had been detected with the novel coronavirus on Saturday triggered the Covid scare.
“We have started criminal cases against all eight involved in harassing the BDO merely on suspicion of Covid outbreak. We have booked them under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act,” said Tathagata Basu, the Hooghly rural police chief.
The agriculture department served a showcause on Saha, who is posted in Hooghly’s Pursura, asking him to explain why action should not be started against him for allegedly harassing a Covid-19 warrior and her family.
A district official said: “It surprised us when we found that an agriculture department official, who knows about the disease and protocol, had led the harassment. Earlier, all such protests had taken place in rural areas. So, we decided to deal the issue with all seriousness.”
Nripendra Singh, the sub-divisional officer of Arambagh, said: “Police have taken legal action as per norms. The official was showcaused by his department. The BDO has been asked to stay at her rented house. We will not allow harassment of anyone who is involved in handling the Covid situation.”