LEFT WITH “no belongings” and having “lost all the vehicles” at their disposal in the attack Sunday, officers of the Kaliachak police station in Malda district said the incident has left them “unable to deal with an emergency situation” for the time being.
An officer with the police station recounted on the condition of anonymity that they were dependent on the locals Sunday night who offered them blankets and made other necessary arrangements.
“They (protesters) put fire to everything. I lost all my belongings and don’t have any other clothes to wear,” the officer said. He added that there is not a single vehicle at the station and police force would be unable to respond should an emergency arises.
By late Monday evening, reports emerged that over 120 heads of armed forces from the 4th battalion have been brought in for additional security. Section 144 continues to be imposed in the area since Sunday night even as the police have failed to make any arrests so far. Officials, however, claimed that through the CCTV footage, they have identified “some of the faces” among the attackers.
“They are all residents of this area and soon would be rounded up. At the moment our priority is to restore peace and prevent any repetition of yesterday’s incident,” an official said.
The Kaliachak police station became the target of a group which was taking out a rally in protest against the alleged derogatory remarks of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari on Prophet Muhammad.
The protesters had turned violent when they arrived at Kaliachak and, besides damaging scores of vehicles, including those of the BSF, set the police station on fire.
“There were about four police vehicles and over half a dozen other vehicles that protesters set ablaze. We are yet to assess the total damage caused,” said Dilip Hazra, deputy superintendent (headquarters).
Malda SP Prasun Bandopadhyay said raids were being carried out while probe was on to ascertain the extent of the damage and the reason behind the attack.
Meanwhile, the district BJP unit sought to label the attack as the “handiwork of a bigger terror outfit”.
“We believe that a bigger terror outfit was behind the attack on the police station yesterday. We have written to the central government demanding an investigation by a central agency,” said Soumen Sarkar, one of the BJP leaders who was part of the 10-member team of the party’s district unit that visited the police station Monday.