Family members of Mrityunjoy Barman, the youth allegedly gunned down by the police in North Dinajpur on April 27, on Friday alleged that they were under pressure from different quarters to withdraw their police complaint.
Rabindranath Barman, Mrityunjoy's father, on Friday told Arun Haldar, the vice-chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, that they felt insecure and were staying away from Chandga, their village in Kaliaganj block of the district.
“As we have said in the complaint that my son died as a police officer fired at him, we are under pressure from different quarters in the administration, the police and even the ruling party of the state and being told to withdraw the complaint. We are feeling insecure and staying away from Chandga,” said the father.
Mrityunjoy's family buried his body in the backyard of their house in case any probe agency would need to exhume it later. They then left the village.
On Friday, Haldar got them back in Chandga in his car but then changed his mind later.
“I was surprised to learn that they are not in Chandga and in hiding. I brought them to Malda. From there, they accompanied me to the village in a vehicle. But they are scared. It indicates the deplorable law and order here,” said the vice-chairperson of NCST.
After bringing the family under the security of central forces, Haldar walked around the village and spoke with local residents for information.
Mrityunjoy's father said he saw his son gunned down in front of his eyes. "Since then, we are hiding in our relatives’ places and changing locations. The commission (Haldar) assured us of security but after reaching here, we found there was no such arrangement. We have decided to leave this village till we get proper security,” Rabindranath said.
Haldar agreed with the bereaved father.
“No senior police officer or a representative from the civil administration turned up to meet me. The inspector-in-charge of Kaliaganj police station, who joined four days back, was there but didn’t have any information. I can’t force the family to stay here and thus told them to return with me (and stay wherever they feel safe),” he said.
The NCST, he said, will soon serve notices to the police and administration. “We will also send reports to the President and the governor, saying that the family has not received security and state officials here have ignored the commission’s visit,” said Haldar.
Senior police officers, when told about the family’s allegations, said appropriate arrangements had been made at Chandga for them.
Kanaialal Agarwala, the district Trinamul president, accused the BJP of trying to play politics over this issue.
“The family members are yet to recover from their bereavement. Why should anyone give them pressure? The BJP is trying to use this opportunity to tarnish the state. There is a police picket near the village and CID has started an investigation. We don’t think the family has anything to worry about,” he said.