Last week’s incident at Garden Reach may have shaken the state, but some police officers remain just as lax as before.
Despite a court order, a directive from the Governor and a petition signed by 300 local residents, officers at the Beniapukur police station haven’t taken any action against a armed gangs, allegedly backed by the Trinamool Congress, for stirring violence in and around ward 59 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
According to complaints, illegal building constructors have been flourishing in ward 59, which has a large concentration of slums and minority communities. In the past year, several complaints have been lodged at the Beniapukur police station against groups of dreaded armed gangs led by Chattan Kallu, Mohammed Riyaz, Tanka Papu and Lafi Firoze.
They have been charged with assaulting locals and creating terror at the Auddybagan, Muchipara (near Park Circus) and Tiljala Road areas of central Kolkata.
“All these criminals are backed by local Trinamool leaders. There are some people within the party who are destroying its image. They are influencing the local police not to take steps against these criminals. We fear a repeat of the Garden Reach incident in our area soon,” said Sourya Ghosh, an advocate and steering committee member of the Trinamool.
Even in October, gang wars over the flourishing illegal building trade in the ward had spilled over into the streets of Tiljala. After receiving a letter from Ghosh, on November 4 Governor MK Narayanan urged that state home secretary to take appropriate action against the problems in the area.
“These gangs have constructed an illegal building on public land, close to the Chittaranjan National Medical College and Hospital and uses it as a party office. They had illegally tapped power from the hospital transformer. Despite complaints, a bunch of officers at the Beniapukur police station, lead by sub-inspector Gautam Das, are reluctant to take steps against them,” Ghosh said.
When HT approached Das, he refused to officially comment to the media. However, his colleagues defended Das, claiming that it was war between two factions of the Trinamool Congress and all the complaints have been blown out of proportion.
“It is a fight between Ghosh and former ward councillor Mumtaz Alam. We have not found enough evidence against the accused,” a senior officer said.
However, cops were at a loss when asked why they hadn’t taken action even after the issuing of a court order.
On December 27, taking cognisance of an application by local Trinamool Congress leader MD Babul alias Khurshid, the additional chief judicial magistrate of Sealdah directed the police to lodge an FIR against former councillor Alam. Alam shifted to the Trinamool before the last civic polls in the city and lost to the CPI(M) candidate.
He has been charged with trying to abduct Babul on December 20 when the latter tried to raise his voice against the illegal real estate ventures in the ward. Alam and his men reportedly tried to kill Babul and attempted to keep the Trinamool leader confined in the illegal office near the hospital. Babul broke away from their office and sought refuge at the police station.
“Even on that day, police initially misbehaved with Babul. Even after the court order, cops have no taken any actions. Repeated complaints to top brass, including the former commissioner, was of no help,” said Ghosh, who has recently forwarded a mass petition signed by 300 residents to the DC (Special) Detective Department Santosh Pandey.