A week after a mob attacked his team with rods and bamboo sticks during a midnight raid in connection with a land dispute in Bargarchomukh village, Sumon Das (40), officer-in-charge of Shyampur police station in Howrah, continues to be in critical condition.
Das, who sustained a head injury in the incident, was shifted from Belle Vue Clinic to the Institute of Neuroscience on Tuesday, where he is still unconscious due to a brain haemorrhage. “He has a deep injury on the right side of his brain. He is definitely critical, but we are hopeful. A four-member medical board has been formed,” a doctor told The Indian Express.
The incident took place on Saturday in Shyampur, under Uluberia constituency, where a Lok Sabha bypoll is to be held on January 29. Police said two groups — led by local residents Motiyar Munshi and Hanif Munshi, respectively — had been locking horns over a 40-bigha Waqf property in the village for the past few months. Both parties had filed complaints against each other, on the basis of which FIRs had been lodged. In May 2017, the two groups had clashed, after which police had begun looking for Motiyar, who had gone missing. On January 5, the same groups clashed again.
“Shyampur police received a written complaint from Hanif Munshi, nephew of Matiar Munshi and associate of Alauddin Munshi, alleging his house was damaged and his relatives beaten up. A police picket was placed in the area. On Friday, police received information about fresh tension in the area at night and a team of 28 officials rushed to the spot,” said an official.
Sources said that Das led the team, a few days before he was to assume charge in the detective department of Kolkata Police. When they entered the area, they were attacked by bike-borne assailants, who outnumbered them and chased them for around half a kilometre.
“Sub-Inspector Tarun Pramanik and I were with OC (Das). The miscreants caught us, and the OC was beaten up with rods and bamboo sticks. They also attacked Pramanik and me. The miscreants fled only when they believed that OC was killed,” civic volunteer Pransenjit Majhi had said.
Contacted, Commissioner of Police (Howrah) D P Singh said, “We have so far arrested 12 persons, while two accused are still absconding. All have been booked under various sections, including attempt to murder. Whether the attack was spontaneous or planned will be probed. The area had been witnessing clashes over the Waqf property for quite some time, and they (rival groups) would often attack each other’s houses. The main accused, Matiar Munshi, is a historysheeter.”
While police denied any political angle to the case, local sources said Matiar Munshi’s family members were local CPM committee workers when Trinamool Congress wasn’t in power, and are known as “CPM supporters” in the area.
Hanif and Alauddin Munshi, on the other hand allegedly enjoy “favours” from local Trinamool Congress leaders, they added.
The TMC denied its involvement in the matter. Vice-Chairperson of Shyampur, Block 2, Zulfiqar Ali Molla, told The Indian Express, “They were fighting with each other over land. Our party has no connection to it. The main accused is a known CPM supporter, while Hanif Munshi is a labourer. It was their personal matter.”
The local CPM unit denied any ties with Matiar, with area committee member Mahendra Roy saying, “None of his family member were local committee members of CPM. CPM has no connection with this incident.”