Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nine days to make a list of 6

Nine days to make a list of 6

Nandigram, Nov. 23: Police today gave the CRPF a list of six CPM supporters “wanted” on various criminal charges — a first step towards rapprochement with the force that had repeatedly accused them of non-cooperation.

Little changed on the ground, though, as villagers who returned home to Jambari, Satengabari, Hanschara and Ratanpur came back to the refugee camp in Nandigram High School and alleged intimidation by CPM supporters.

The list the police gave CRPF assistant commandant A.K. Upadhyay named six Satengabari residents. It did not say anything about their past, area of activity and whether they were absconding.

A CRPF officer wondered why it took the police nine days to share the information. A bigger list had been handed over to the CID team that came here last evening.

“If flushing out criminals to ensure the return of the homeless is a priority, it should not have taken so long to identify the most wanted in one village,” a CRPF officer said. “But it is a step forward.”

CRPF deputy inspector-general Alok Raj left Nandigram yesterday, alleging lack of co-operation from the police.

In Calcutta, home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray today said: “I can’t comment on what is being said about him. He has gone on leave. He will work in the manner in which he had been working before going on leave.”

Deputy inspector-general (railways) Jag Mohan, who has been asked to supervise the rehabilitation of the homeless, asked East Midnapore superintendent of police S.S. Panda to immediately arrange for a women police force to reach out to the women in the trouble-torn areas. “Unless confidence is instilled, a large majority will continue to return home in the morning and flee at night,” says his report.

It came on a day the district administration was gearing up to shift the Nandigram High School camp as the school authorities wanted to resume classes and hold tests for next year’s board exams.

The district police chief was not too optimistic about the situation changing. “Certain steps are being taken. But you can’t expect a change overnight,” he said.

Sheikh Sahadat Hussain, who was accused of setting a police vehicle ablaze during a Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee rally in January, was arrested today.