Action against ‘absconding’ Trinamul councillor for Hooghly police post vandalism

A file photo of the police Jeep damaged by  a Trinamul mob at Champdani police outpost in Hooghly on 5 April.
A file photo of the police Jeep damaged by a Trinamul mob at Champdani police outpost in Hooghly on 5 April.

By bappaditya paul

THE BENGAL STATE ELECTION COMMISSION (SEC) on Saturday ordered police action against Bikram Gupta, a Trinamul Congress poll candidate and sitting councillor of Bhadreswar Municipality in Hooghly for the 5 April rampage at Champdani police outpost. 

This was on a day the SEC held a meeting with Bengal Home Secretary, DGP, IG (law and order), Kolkata Police Commissioner and others and agreed to the security deployment plan for the coming civic polls that they proposed.

State election commissioner Sushanta Ranjan Upadhaya said that the action against the Trinamul councillor has been ordered on the basis of a preliminary probe report furnished by the superintendent of police of Hooghly. 

“In the report, the SP said that it was indeed Bikram Gupta who had led a group of hooligans that vandalised the police outpost and that an FIR had been registered over this. We have asked the SP to take immediate action against Gupta and send us a compliance report at the earliest,” Mr Upadhaya said on Saturday afternoon. 

For the police, the accused Trinamul councillor has been absconding ever since the incident, albeit several Bengali television news channels traced and interviewed him afterwards.   

A contingent of Bengal police. File photo.
A contingent of Bengal police. File photo.

Mr Upadhaya informed that the scale of deployment for the civic polls in Kolkata on 18 April and in another 91 civic bodies in the state on 25 April has been finalised in the meeting today. 

“The state administration proposed that there should be two armed police posted on a poll premises that houses up to three booths; there should be four armed police for premises having four and above number of booths. We have agreed to the plan,” the election commissioner said, adding that in addition to this, one un-armed police personnel would remain posted at every polling booth.   

The number of polling premises in the 92 poll-bound civic bodies in the state is 5,467; out of these 1,516 premises are located in Kolkata Municipal Corporation area.

As against this, the total number of polling booths housed in them is 13,460; out of which 8,756 are in Kolkata.  

The state police will start area domination exercise in all the poll-bound civic bodies seven days before the poll-day and a special drive three-days ahead of the polls. 

Mr Upadhaya further said that the state administration has assured exploring the possibility of utilising the 40 companies of Central troops that are deployed in the Maoist-hit districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia for the civic polls there.

Another eight companies of Central forces posted in Darjeeling Hills could also be put to use for the polls in Siliguri plains. 

(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman  on 12 April 2015.)

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