Unprecedented discontent among the rank and file of Kolkata Police forced top cop Ranjit K Pachnanda to defy his political bosses and dig his own grave.
According to sources, the police top brass could sense the simmering anger among the force soon after the force was humiliated by goons from the ruling party. After the news of the death of the sub inspector spread, the discontent spread like wildfire and the television pictures revealed how youths were brandishing guns and throwing crude bombs right in front of the policemen.
The main drama unfolded soon after Pachnanda visited the home of the slain officer, Tapas Choudhury. He went straight to the Garden Reach thana and instructed the officer in charge to immediately arrest the assailant.
Matters got worse for the police top brass, when the family members of the slain cop, wanted the perpetrators of the violence punished.
The discontent in the force was palpable. On Wednesday, there was a delay among a section of the force to report for duty from the Alipore Bodyguard Lines. The police personnel demanded proper arms to tackle a Congress mob at different parts of the city.
Senior officers had to intervene and make them understand. At CMRI hospital on Tuesday, agitated special branch personnel surrounded Panchnanda and told him of their grievances.
The same thing was repeated at the burning ghat where the slain cop was cremated.Pachnanda was initially in a dilemma in arresting Iqbal, although he was named in the FIR.
However, realising the possible fall out of the force’s outburst, Pachnanda informed Bobby Hakim also the MLA of Garden Reach that the police had no option but to arrest Iqbal. This irked the minister who is known for his close ties with Iqbal. The minister even said at Writers’ Buildings that he did not believe that Iqbal was involved in the Garden Reach violence.
“I cannot believe that Iqbal could be involved in the (Metiabruz) violence,” Hakim said early on Thursday morning, while addressing journalists at the state secretariat.
However, the minister on Tuesday blamed the CPI(M) and Congress for the ruckus. But the pressure from the force, including senior cops left only one option for Pachnanda.
The message from the force was loud and clear - “the top guns of Tuesday’s violence (read Iqbal) cannot be allowed to go scot free.”
Initially reluctant to take action against the top Trinamool Congress leades, Pachnanada had to relent because of the mounting pressure. He failed his political masters and had to go, so claims a section of observers in the know.