Nearly 48 hours after the attack on the Kaliachak police station in Malda, police have arrested 10 accused involved in the incident. The accused — Motiur Rahman, Jabdul Seikh, Sinnat Seikh, Gaffar Seikh, Ekhlasur Rahman, Benamin Seikh, Lalu Momin, Md Ashadul Haque, Farooque Seikh and Md Rashidul Haque – were produced before the Malda court Tuesday.
Following the arrests, five bombs were hurled and gunshots were fired at the market place in the area, eye witnesses said. Two RAF officials were injured. However, Dilip Hazra, Deputy Superintendent (Headquarters) denied of any such incident.
While three – Motiur, Jabdul and Rashidul – were sent to police custody for six days, the others were remanded in 14-day police custody.
“They have been arrested and booked under several non-bailable sections. We are investigating the matter and there will probably be more arrests,” said Hazra.
The accused have been charged under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.) of the IPC among others.
Meanwhile, members of the Idara-e-Shariya, which had organised the rally on January 3, said the protest was peaceful and it was police that instigated violence and later outsiders carried out the attack.
“We had organised a peaceful protest against the insult to our Prophet. When we attempted to burn an effigy of Kamlesh Tiwari (activist accused of making alleged derogatory remarks against the Prophet) in front of Kaliachak police station, police officials first objected to it and then lathi-charged the youngsters. This led to an altercation,” said a senior member of the group. He added that no members of the organisation was involved in the carnage.
“We had nothing to do with the destruction of the police station. It was done by anti-social elements who had mingled with the crowd and had a grudge against the cops,” he said.
A BJP delegation, meanwhile, will meet the Governor on Wednesday to seek action against “actual offenders”.
“Police have not arrested the main culprits. We demand that actual offenders, who we believe are patronised by the TMC, should be immediately arrested and for that intervention of a central investigating agency is necessary. The entire nation cried of intolerance when Dadri incident happened but after Kaliachak, we don’t see intellectuals hitting the streets. We demand that CM Mamata Banerjee stops the politics of Muslim appeasement and comes out with an official statement, condemning the act,” said BJP national secretary and former state BJP president Rahul Sinha.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also attacked the Trinamool government over the “rampaging communalism” in Malda, alleging that the accused behind it are indulging in violence under its protection.
“Communalism is on a rampage in Malda. Police station has been burnt down, innocents are being attacked and there is mayhem… Those who are doing it are doing so under the protection of West Bengal government. It is not taking any substantial action,” Naqvi said. “People who have gone out of control and stoking communal tension must be dealt with severely to restore a sense of security.”
Congress MP from Malda South, Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury blamed “TMC goons” for the violence, and accused police for being unprepared to deal with the situation despite having prior information about the protest.