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Residents of Khejuri in East Midnapore district of West Bengal have began on Friday a unique movement against alleged police atrocities — social boycott.
The reason is the arrest and detention of 14 locals on the charge of attacking and vandalising the houses of local CPI(M) leaders and party offices four days ago.
Since the Trinamool Congress laid siege to the police station for 37 hours till Friday afternoon, the police could not produce the 14 persons in the court. They had to be kept in police custody.
Now, the 215-odd men posted at the police station are not being catered to even by the wayside food stalls. They can’t buy their rations from local shops either. Even the locals refuse to cook for them.
Since the locals have stopped driving police vehicles, a cache of arms, recovered by the Trinamool, is lying unprotected at a tea stall, about 7 km from the police station.
The authorities have sent five constables from district headquarters Tamluk for cooking meals for the men at the police station.
Subol Majumdar (name changed on request) a fifty-plus constable, who stood guard at the main gate of the police station, said he had not eaten anything since morning. It was around 1.30 pm.
He said, “For three days, I have not even had a cup of tea. The local shops refuse to sell anything to us.”
A central kitchen has been set up on the open courtyard of the police barracks at Khejuri police station to supply food to the temporary camps set up there.
Khejuri, an important port town till it was destroyed in a cyclone in 1864, hit the headline in 2007 when CPI(M) cadres made it a base for attacking the Trinamool Congress stronghold at Nandigram, about 70 km south-west of Kolkata.
After the poor show by the CPI(M) in the Lok Sabha elections, the Trinamool Congress launched a drive to capture Khejuri and recovered arms and ammunitions from the local CPI(M) offices and party leaders’ houses.
But how long do the locals plan to uphold the boycott?
Alokesh jana, who runs a tea stall outside the Khejuri police station, said, “We had decided on our own to boycott the police. There were two innocent students among the persons arrested. We will continue with the boycott until the persons get bail.”