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Attack on Santals: HC orders suspension of Gaibandha SP, police

  • Published at 09:29 am February 7th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:55 pm February 7th, 2017
Attack on Santals: HC orders suspension of Gaibandha SP, police
The High Court bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice Krishna Debnath issued the order after hearing a probe report prepared by Chief Judicial Magistrate of Gaibandha Md Shahidullah. The court said the district police chief appeared to have deliberately obstructed the judicial investigation into the incident, refusing to provide the list of the policemen on-duty that day at Chamgari, the area where Santal homes were allegedly burnt down by police. “From the letter of the SP, it appears that he tried to avoid the answers to the questions put forward by the chief judicial magistrate to identify the responsible persons,” the court said in the order. The court went on to say, the inaction of the SP to provide information to the judicial committee was unacceptable. The home secretary, inspector general of police and deputy inspector general (DIG) of Rangpur range will comply with this order. The court also gave four weeks to the IGP and the DIG of Rangpur to submit their findings by examining a video clip showing police involvement in the arson at a forensic lab to check if the footage was tampered with. The court will pass further orders on the issue on March 9. On January 21, when the judicial probe body formed by the High Court sought help from Gaibandha police Special Branch chief Md Ashraful Islam asking for the names of the policemen present at Chamgari, the SP filibustered, according to the report. The district police chief said the names were sent to their own probe committees and so he could not send them the names. Then he also alluded to digital manipulation of the video footage the inquiry was referring to in order to discredit its credibility and said it must be tested at a forensic lab first. The video footage showed some policemen and two civilians actively taking part in the arson, while several other policemen stood nearby and did nothing. On December 14 last year, the High Court directed Gaibandha’s chief judicial magistrate to investigate police involvement in the arson attack of Santal homes. On November 6, three Santal men were killed and 30 people, including nine policemen, were injured in a clash with law enforcers and workers of Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gobindaganj. The clash broke out when workers of Rangpur Sugar Mills along with police went to the Bagda Farm area to ‘reclaim’ the sugar mill’s land allegedly occupied by the Santal community. Swapan Murmu, a member of the Santal community, filed a case against 600 people in connection with the attack on November 17.
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