Dinhata Probe report lost, Forward Bloc silent

By bappaditya paul

The failure to trace out the report of the Justice Narayan Chandra Sil Commission that probed the 2008 police firing at Dinhata in Cooch Behar might have raised eyebrows in various quarters; but the Forward Bloc whose five cadres were killed in the firing has adopted a wait and watch policy on the matter.

The Commission’s report is stated to be untraceable from the chief minister’s office (CMO).
According to Forward Bloc Cooch Behar district secretary and Dinhata MLA, Mr Udayan Guha, the party was seeking legal opinion on the issue before deciding on a future course of action.

“The police have filed charge-sheet in the case against 63 of us, including me. The matter is at present sub-judice before a court in Cooch Behar. Hence, we have sought legal opinion on whether the Sil Commission’s report coming out at this point would hamper our case,” Mr Guha told The Statesman.

Asked whether his party has any plan to raise the issue with the chief minister, the Dinhata MLA sounded non-committal. “If the chief minister comes to the Assembly during the ongoing session, then we would ask her for an appointment. But it’s up to her, whether she grants us an appointment on the matter.”

The rival Congress, however, is smelling something foul in the Forward Bloc’s lacklustre attitude. “We suspect that the Commission in its report has indicted Mr Guha, the FB Cooch Behar MP Mr Nripen Roy and several other local leaders of the party. This is why FB does not want the report to be made public,” said Mr Keshab Roy, the Congress MLA from Sitai in Cooch Behar. Mr Roy today raised the matter in the state Assembly.

Mr Udayan Guha was the one who had led a huge FB rally to the Dinhata SDO office on 5 February 2008 torsubmit a memorandum demanding proper implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Indira Awas Yojona and inclusion of more beneficiaries in the BPL list.

The rally allegedly turned violent, prompting the police to open fire that killed five FB cadres. A policeman also died in the clash.

Subsequently, the then Left Front government constituted a one-man probe commission into the incident, which submitted its report in August 2010. However, for reasons unexplained, the LF government chose not to make it public. Now in a recent reply to a Right To Information query, the home department of the new Trinamul Congress government has stated that the report is untraceable.

In the meantime, the Forward Bloc has given some monetary compensation from its party fund  to the next of the kin of the five deceased cadres.

(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report originally appeared in The Statesman on 15 December 2011.)


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