Bengal court issues arrest warrant against three police officers for 2007 Nandigram killing
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Bengal court issues arrest warrant against three police officers for 2007 Nandigram killing

Two of the police officers belong to the IPS cadre. Warrants were also issued against eight local CPI(M) leaders.

kolkata Updated: Jul 04, 2017 11:43 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
Nandigram,IPS,Police Officers
Waiting for justice. Ashia Bibi holding the photo of her son Imadul, who was killed in police firing on March 14, 2007 in Nandigram.(Subhankar Chakraborty)

A district court in West Bengal has issued arrest warrants against three police officers -- two of them are IPS officers -- for their role in the 2007 police firing in Nandigram killing 14 villagers. incident.

The court also issued arrest warrants against eight CPI(M) leaders. The warrants were issued by additional chief judicial magistrate Subhadip Chatterjee on Monday following the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitting the supplementary charge in the court on Friday.

Read: A decade later, family members of Nandigram victims still seeking justice

The Nandigram firing was a watershed in the recent history of Bengal since it became the single most important incident that contributed to the fall of the 34-year Left rule in Bengal.

A Trinamool Congress poster in Nandigram before the 2016 Bengal Assembly polls. The court order will also come as a relief to the ruling party, who were often accused by the victim families for not doing enough to bring the culprits to book. (HT Photo)

The IPS officers against whom warrants were issued are Satyajit Bandhopadhyay, an additional commissioner of Kolkata Police, and Debasish Boral, who was joint commissioner (crime) in Kolkata Police and is now in compulsory waiting. The third officer is Shekhar Roy, an assistant commissioner in Howrah.

On March 14, 2007, when the firing took place, Satyajit Bandhopadhyay was the additional superintendent of police of Howrah district, Debasish Boral was additional superintendent of police in East Midnapore and Sekhar Roy, the officer in charge of Nandigram police station.

Sources told HT that the three police officers were charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, attempt to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt with dangerous weapons and causing disappearance of evidence or providing false information to screen offenders.

If the charges are proved, they may even face prison for life.

Read: Bhangar children guard villages after sundown, can’t attend school

Eight CPI(M) leaders such as Rabiul Hossain, Himangshu Das, Bijan Roy and Badal Garudas were named in the charge sheet.

The police firing in Nandigram on March 14, 2007 was easily the single biggest incident that contributed to the downfall of the 34-year Left rule in Bengal. Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was keen to set up an SEZ for chemical and petrochemical units in Nandigram. (HT Photo)

“The court issued arrest warrant against 11 persons. As Badal was arrested earlier and now is in bail, the warrant was not issued against him,” said government pleader Abdul Mohit.

However, Alok Rajoria, district police chief in East Midnapore said they are yet to receive any papers from the court. “We will take steps after receiving the papers from the court,” he said.

As many as 14 people were killed in firing on March 14, 2007 when police opened fire on land agitators.

Read: MP farmers’ protest: An echo of what happened in Nandigram a decade ago

“After the charge sheet and the warrants issued by the couort, it is proved that CPI(M) and police jointly fired on the people. After being denied justice for 10 years, we are now sure that the people of Nandigram will get justice,” said Suvendu Adhikari, the MLA from Nandigram and state transport minister.

To oppose the plan of the state government to acquire land for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the villagers formed a committee named Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) and started agitations. Later they got support from Trinamool Congress, the principal opposition party at that time.

First Published: Jul 04, 2017 11:43 IST