TNN | Nov 9, 2012, 03.27AM IST
A preliminary police report on the violence that broke out in Birbhum's Loba village in West Bengal on Tuesday demolishes Mamata Banerjee's claim that the operation was planned by the district police on its own and the government was not aware of it.
KOLKATA/BIRBHUM: A preliminary police report on the violence that broke out in Birbhum's Loba village in West Bengal on Tuesday demolishes chief minister Mamata Banerjee's claim that the operation was planned by the district police on its own and the government was not aware of it.
Taking cue from the police report, a section of Birbhum police also alleged that it was industries minister Partha Chatterjee, who had insisted that the police recover Bengal-Emta's earthmover lying idle in the village. Some of the police officers claimed Chatterjee had called up now-shunted SP Hrishikesh Meena on October 24 and asked him to expedite the recovery. Later, Trinamool minister from the district Chandranath Sinha and party Birbhum president Anubrata Mandal kept up the pressure. Loba villagers alleged Mandal had accompanied the police force to the village at the break of dawn on Tuesday. Mandal, however, said he was in Kolkata at the time.
Chatterjee, too, denied the charge after a detailed discussion with the CM on Thursday. "I did not give any direction, neither did anyone from my department or the government give any direction. Investing officers can check my call records. The investigation is on. Everything will be exposed. I reiterate that the CPM has a hand in the violence. I can provide evidence to substantiate the claim. Dubrajpur villagers will meet me tomorrow," he said. He added that Maoists could also have had a role in the incident.
Sensing the political repercussions of the case, the chief minister has decided to meet a delegation of Loba villagers on Friday.
The blame game apart, IG (western range) Gangeswar Singh, in his preliminary report to ADG (law & order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha, has put on record the procedures that the district police followed before they went ahead with the final operation. The procedural communication and district intelligence report that was sought for days before the operation leaves beyond doubt that officials in the state administration were kept posted from time to time. A section of the Birbhum police also claimed that the accused SP had sent text messages to the police top brass, including director general of police Naparajit Mukherjee, on the day of the incident at 6.22 am. The fact that senior police officers had planned for a worst-case scenario is evident from their sending an executive magistrate with the police force to the spot, a step that is mandatory for taking action including firing.
Even the political bosses were aware of the ground realities. Chatterjee had a first-hand experience of the tension building up in Loba when he visited the village in July. Later, he met representatives of Loba villagers and PDS secretary Samir Putatunda in the Assembly where the agitators promised to allow Bengal-Emta to take away the machinery if the government helped in sorting out the impasse. In September, villager Felaram Mandal wrote to the CM urging her intervention in the matter. It didn't catch the CM's attention.
A Left Front delegation led by CPM's Anisur Rahman visited Loba on Thursday, but were cold-shouldered by the villagers. "The problem started during the Left Front rule. Since then we have knocked on the doors of all political parties — CPM, Congress and Trinamool Congress. All of them assured us that they would take up the cause but didn't do anything," the agitators said.