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Who will police West Bengal police?

Who will police West Bengal police?

Author: Rajib Chakraborty
Publication: The Statesman
Date: August 28, 2008

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the West Bengal Police have been accused of shielding two policemen ~ Mr Arabinda Kusari and Mr Biman Chatterjee, who are the prime accused in the kidnapping of Mr Partha Majumdar, a resident of Belghoria and the younger son of late freedom fighter Dwijendranath Majumdar.

Family members of the freedom fighter alleged that police and CID officers have not taken appropriate action. As a result, both the policemen, held accused by the district court, have not yet surrendered before the additional district and session judge, 1st court, Barasat in North 24-Parganas.

Mr Majumdar was allegedly picked up by some policemen in broad daylight after he became an eye witness of a police encounter at Banerjee Bagan of Akrampur near Habra police station on 5 September, 1997. One Suresh Barui was shot dead by police in front of Mr Majumdar, who protested against the killing. The police fired at Mr Majumdar too, injuring him in his leg. "It was a fake encounter plotted by police to murder Barui. My brother became a witness of the murder. So he was fired at and wounded. Later, they kidnapped my brother to murder him. Since then he has remained untraced," said Mr Dipankar Majumdar, elder brother of Partha.

Mr Dipankar Majumdar said that the family had appealed to the chief secretary of West Bengal, and additional director general of police (CID) regarding this issue but still no action has been taken by the government to enforce the surrender of the accused policemen. Earlier, the State Human Rights Commission called on the CID to investigate the disappearance of Mr Majumdar. The state gave an order for a CID investigation. The victim's family members alleged that initially CID officers were reluctant to arrest the accused persons. However, in time, 11 policemen were accused and charge sheeted in connection with the "forced disappearance tantamount to murder" of Mr Partha Majumdar while he was in police custody. However, according to Mr Dipankar Majumdar, despite being charge-sheeted, "the accused policemen have used their government power to lighten the case. Even some of the policemen, who were accused in the same case earlier, had come to the court on government jeep with beacon light despite that they were accused by the court."

The two prime accused, Mr Arabinda Kushari, a retired CID inspector, and Mr Biman Chatterjee, a constable of Haroa police station, were, in 1997, Barasat police station inspector and constable respectively. In the recent past, they appealed to the Calcutta High Court for a revision of the order by the additional district and session court of Barasat. The Calcutta High Court dismissed the revision seeking application on 9 May 2008, and issued fresh summons. However, till date, neither the CID nor the police have executed the warrant issued by the court for their appearance before the judge.

Sunila Majumdar, mother of the victim, who had been fighting since her son's forced disappearance by police, died a few months ago, having been mentally traumatised by the event. "My father once fought for this country's independence. And my mother was badly hurt by this government, because the state tried to cover the crime of the accused policemen. This caused her mental trauma," said Mr Dipankar Majumdar.

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