File buries firing

Calcutta, Jan. 10: A probe ordered by the government into the arson attack in Bhangar on Tuesday will not cover charges of firing because police have chosen not to mention that a teenager had been shot at.

An 18-year-old student, Sujit Das, is being treated for what hospital officials said was a wound caused by a bullet that pierced his chest and exited.

The boy was admitted to the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, off the EM Bypass, at 2pm, around two hours after the worst phase of the violence at Bamanghata in South 24-Parganas' Bhangar. The boy is an SFI activist and belongs to a farmer's family with CPM ties.

However, senior officers cited two reasons for not probing the alleged firing. One, the initial report from district police superintendent Praveen Tripathi does not mention it. Two, the police said there was no conclusive evidence that Das suffered the bullet injury in Bamanghata and not anywhere else.

The officials would not say if any other firing incident had been reported nearby so that the unexplained bullet wound could be accounted for.

"The initial report doesn't have any mention of the firing," a home department official said yesterday. Since the report is silent on the matter, the Intelligence Branch will also not probe whether anyone was fired upon at all.

"Since the report of the district police chief, who is also the head of the district Intelligence Branch, has no mention of the boy, it is to be assumed that the student was injured in firing at some other place and not at Bamanghata," an intelligence officer said.

Confirmation that firing did take place is expected to bring under the glare suspected stockpiling of firearms 'something most parties are keen to brush under the carpet, especially because panchayat polls are approaching.

An official said the district magistrate has the power to order a magisterial inquiry. "On paper, it is an option. But it is very rare and I do not remember the last time such a thing happened," the official added.


Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.