Victim’s family files complaint, accuses ASI of firing ‘without any provocation’
The family of Mrityunjay Barman (32), who was shot dead allegedly by police personnel in the Kaliaganj area of West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district on Wednesday night, has filed a complaint with the Raiganj Superintendent of Police (SP), accusing an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of killing the man “without any provocation”.
The police have not issued any statement on the incident that occurred in the wake of violence triggered by the alleged rape and murder of a teenaged girl on April 21.
In the complaint, Mrityunjay’s elder brother Mrinal Barman said, “On the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, nearly 25 police personnel from the Kaliaganj police station came to our village in three vehicles looking for Bishnu Barman, a local resident. Since Bishnu was not there, they instead picked up our father Soben Barman and also tried to take my brother-in-law Sagar Roy along.”
“They could not take Sagar Roy with them after women from the neighbourhood objected to the move. In the meantime, ASI Moyajjem Hossain fired at my brother without any provocation. The bullet passed through his chest. We took him to hospital where he was declared dead. The police are responsible for his death,” he added.
Even as the SP’s office acknowledged having received the complaint, no FIR was registered in this regard till filing of the report. Also, the family is yet to receive Mrityunjay’s post-mortem report.
The Indian Express talked to a staffer at the Kaliaganj State General Hospital where Mrityunjay was taken after being shot. He said, “Bishnu was brought to the hospital at around 3:30am and was declared dead on arrival. There was a hole below his chest. It appeared that a bullet entered the body and and exited from the other side.”
Since the Kaliaganj police station was attacked by an angry mob on Tuesday night, at least 52 people have been arrested in this connection.
“Thirty-two people were arrested on Tuesday night, 19 were taken in custody the next day while one person was nabbed last night,” said an official. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had claimed that “outsiders” were brought to the state to carry out the attack at the Kaliaganj police station and vandalise private properties. But most of the accused arrested for creating unrest are from Kaliaganj and other parts of Uttar Dinajpur district.
Nine of 32 arrested on the first day were sent to eight-day police custody. The next day, 19 were produced in the court and were sent to judicial custody.
Talking to The Indian Express on the court premises, Narayan Barman, who was arrested on Thursday night and sent to 14-day police remand, said, “I am a BJP worker. I was in the protest that day but had left the area after the situation turned ugly. I was sleeping when they came and picked me up last night.”
Besides the BJP, those arrested belong to the Kamtapur People’s Party (KPP) and some tribal unions. The KPP works for the Rajbanshi community and has been demanding a separate Kamtapur state besides recognition of the dialect of Rajbanshi/Rajbongshi/Kamatari as a separate language.
Those accused have been booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity), 435-436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) 147-149 (rioting, unlawful assembly, rioting with deadly weapons), 186 (voluntarily obstruct a public servant from discharging public duty), 323-326 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332-333 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 356 (whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person) of the Indian Penal Code.
Kaliaganj inspector in-charge shifted
Inspector in-charge of the Kaliaganj police station, Dipanjan Das, has been transferred, officials said. He was replaced by inspector Subal Chandra Ghosh.
Earlier, four ASIs was suspended for dragging the body of a minor girl whose death triggered protests in the Kaliaganj area.