About 2,000 Congress workers, who had gone to meet the district magistrate of Murshidabad under the leadership of Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury, turned violent and attacked the officer’s bungalow Thursday after he apparently refused to receive their memorandum.
The workers, many of whom wielded sticks and bamboos, overran the security at District Magistrate Rajiv Kumar’s bungalow and damaged some sheds inside the compound as they vandalised the place, police said. The mob included district Congress leader Monoj Chakrabarty, who was minister of state for parliamentary affairs in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet but quit after he fell out with her.
The group wanted to give Kumar a memorandum about alleged police atrocities which is believed to have led to the death in custody of Congress worker Safiqul Islam on January 7. But the DM had instructed the ADM to receive the memorandum on his behalf.
However, the Congress workers went to the DM’s bungalow and went out of control when Kumar refused to meet them, breaking flower pots and damaging a government vehicle. Some witnesses claimed that at one stage, Chowdhury tried to pacify the mob from atop a jeep.
Later, Chowdhury held the DM responsible for the trouble. “He had given us an appointment at 2.30 pm. If he had listened to what the people had to say and taken the memorandum, there wouldn’t have been any trouble. The team also went to his bungalow and only after he refused to meet them there, they felt insulted and went out of control,” he said, refusing to call it vandalism.
“How can breaking a couple of flower pots be called vandalism? I had myself urged the mob to stop and brought the supporters under control,” he claimed.
Police sources said the DM was busy with election work and had requested the visitors to submit the memorandum to the ADM. “They didn’t and chose to resort to violence. The prisoner (Safiqul Islam) was sent to judicial custody on December 7 and he died on January 7. During this one month, he was produced in court three times and he never complained of any police atrocity,” said a senior police officer. According to the post-mortem report, Islam died of serious problems in his heart and lungs, the officer added.
“We have so far not received any complaint and have asked the executive magistrate to file one. If he does, appropriate action will be taken based on it,” said