Section 144 applied, 10 police officials transferred as Malda limps back to normalcy

By Zaidul Haque

Kolkata: The unrest in Malda over the comments made by Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwary continues, with Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) applied in the area and 10 police officials transferred.

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The police have sent two of the accused to six-day jail custody and the remaining eight have been sent to 14-day jail custody.

On Sunday, law and order in Malda went out of control during protests organised by a Muslim organisation against hurtful comments made by Tiwary on Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). During protests, the police station was ransacked and public property was vandalised. With a view of maintaining peace in the area, BJP MLA Shamik Bhattacharya was stopped by police from entering the Kaliachak. Shamik Bhattacharya claimed the civilian who died during the vandalism, Gopal Tewary, was their supporter. But local residents said Gopal was associated with a temple as priest.

On Wednesday, more than 25 supporters along with BJP MLA Shamik Lahiri and state BJP leader Biswapriya Lahiri and Uttam Dutta were stopped from entering Kalichak. BJP MLA Shamik Lahiri condemned the incident and said this incident was pre-planned by “Bangladesh infiltrators”. He demanded the National Investigating Agency to investigate the matter and also criticised the police for not allowing them to enter Kaliachak. However, the police said that since Section 144 had been applied in the area, it was now preventing the entry of outsiders.

On Wednesday a delegates of BJP members led by state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh met with Governor Keshariath Tripathi and submitted a memorandum to take immediate action against the culprits. A section of Malda district BJP claims they informed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who would also visit Kalichak on 18 January. But a source at the Chief Minister’s Office in Nabanna said they were not aware of any such decision.

District Trinamul Congress President Moazzem Hossain condemned the vandalism of protestors and requested them to maintain peace and harmony. CPI (M) MP Mohammed Salim said the state intelligence had an idea of how many people would gather, but they ignored the situation and deployed only a few police constables. He also criticised the communal politics of BJP.

State Secretary of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury said while comments of Tiwary were not acceptable, no one should do vandalism in the name of protests. “We only demand action against him as per Indian law. We should be careful not to take law and order in our own hands,” he said.