DIDI LETS HER POLICE LOOSE ON BJP TEAM

Friday, October 31, 2014, Kolkata

Makra village in trouble-torn Birbhum district continued to be out of bounds for politicians as the West Bengal Police on Thursday arrested a Central team of senior BJP leaders and parliamentarians, led by party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who wanted to visit the village and speak to the terrorised villagers. They were arrested for “defying prohibitive orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.

Besides Naqvi, MPs Kirti Azad and Udit Raj, Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha and State party spokesperson Ritesh Tewari were also picked up in a police van after a brief scuffle, ferried to the Parui police station and locked up for some time. They were released later.

The spontaneity of support for the BJP delegation was such that though the Makra villagers were not allowed to come out of the village, those from the neighbouring villages came out in hordes expressing their solidarity with the saffron outfit.

All hell broke loose as a 3,000-strong police contingent jostled with the BJP team and their supporters trying to advance into the village and the cops physically resisting them. In the melee, some of the State leaders were even pushed and shoved around. The police did not allow even four BJP members inside the village which was permissible under Section 144, the BJP leaders said.

Soon after the report of arrests spread, the BJP workers organised road blockades at various parts of the State halting traffic on Kalyani Expressway. They also blocked the pilot vehicles and jammers meant to be used in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s convoy at Diamond Harbour.

But these blockades were later lifted. The BJP leaders alleged the police even resorted to a lathi-charge on their supporters after whisking them away.

Thursday’s scene seemed to be an encore of what it was like on Wednesday when a Left delegation of MPs and MLAs were meted out the same treatment.“The Trinamool has a clear policy. They bow their heads before the terrorist elements but come down hard on the political forces who dare to oppose their politics of violence,” Naqvi said.

“The Trinamool Government does not want the world to see what its goons have done to the poor villagers. They seemed to be afraid of letting us talk to the innocent villagers” he said, adding, “There is no democracy here. It has been completely trampled”.

“They have murdered democracy here. We only wanted to see the villagers and know about their plight on humanitarian ground but this Government did not even let us do that,” Naqvi rued, adding how he sustained injuries while being “dragged and shoved into the police van.”

The BJP delegation would submit its report to party president Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Naqvi said. The State party leaders would also meet Governor Kesrinath Tripathi on Friday.

The Trinamool Congress hit back with senior party leaders Mukul Roy and Partho Chatterjee accusing the saffron outfit of trying to create communal tension in Bengal. “The police have done the right thing,” Chatterjee said while Roy claimed “the BJP is trying to divide Bengal communally for votes, which is in itself a criminal act.”

Sinha said, “The police feel no shame in letting in the gunners and bombers to kill the villagers but they feel scared to let the Central team of parliamentarians in so that their criminal activities do not get leaked to the whole world. The kind of protest we saw today from the people and the kind effort to suppress that protest we marked in the administration only reminds me of the Singur and Nandigram movement when this Government was coming and the Left Government was going out.”

In a related incident, a Birbhum district court on Thursday severely reprimanded the police administration for fabrication of facts even as the police tried to present one of the prime accused in the Makra firing before the court as a newly arrested person who had been picked up from his home. However, the fact was that he had already been in police custody and had been produced before the court a day before on Wednesday.

The court severely came down on the police asking to know “whether you are conducting the probe seriously or not” and directing the SP, Officer-in-charge and the investigating officer to appear before him on Friday and explain their conduct.

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