Kolkata police do not cease to amaze us. Be it standing like mute spectators when a 200-strong mob ravaged a renowned hospital, attacking and assaulting residential doctors; staying paralyzed when massive crowds flooded the streets of Muslim-dominated areas just minutes away from the police station on the day of Janta curfew; or harassing doctors and civilians for voicing out their opinions and exercising their constitutionally granted freedom of expression.
A 32-year-old Hindu man out to get milk during the lockdown lost his life after allegedly being lathi-charged by the city police, but unmasked gatherings flouting social distancing norms continue to occur in the mosques of West Bengal which the police ignore. Sarcastic as it may sound, the police in West Bengal, administered by the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee works overtime to keep “secularism” intact.
Now, the Kolkata Police has surprised Kolkatans again by ‘adopting’ the family of riot accused Mohammad Sakib who was charged with attacking and assaulting policemen during the infamous Tikiapara clash that took place in the last week of April 2020 during lockdown phase-2. It all started with the allegation that Kolkata Police had thrashed a middle-aged woman in the minority-dominated Tikiapara area in Howrah. A 200-strong mob of locals descended on the streets and clashed with the police for an hour.
Four policemen were seriously injured and two police vehicles were vandalized. Bricks were thrown at the police by locals. According to Howrah City Police Commissioner Kunal Agarwal, the mayhem broke out when the local police tried to discipline locals who were out and about on the street without masks in the Covid containment zone. To bring the situation under control, the RAF had to be summoned. No arrests were made that day, Provisions of the Disaster Management Act were invoked as per police personnel, and police started raiding multiple places in the congested area.
Four days later, police arrested prime accused, Mohammad Sakib, from his hiding place, and 11 others. In the viral videos of the incident, Sakib could be seen raining kicks on police officials. However, when Kolkata police gathered that Mohammad Sakib was the sole bread-winner of a large family of 10 members, the Muslim-appeasing administration decided on “adopting” this family.
Before Mohammad Sakib was even produced at the court and sentenced to police remand for three days, within hours of whisking him away, Howrah Police reached his family and awarded them with 50 kilos of rice, 40 kilos of potatoes, 20 kilos of wheat, 18 kilos of pulses, and other grocery items like biscuits, tea, sugar, oil, and soap so as to assure that the 10-member-family of the riot-accused Sakib is kept well-fed for 10 days. The following day, cops revisited Sakib’s family with fruits and milk.
Taking pride in his decision, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pritambrata Roy stated, “Shakib fed the family of 10. With him gone, the family would starve.” A police constable has also been appointed to care for the family. However, the WB Police didn’t apprise the city dwellers of an important piece of information: Were these 10 family members of the riot-accused Mohammad Sakib being fed by West Bengal’s law-abiding tax payers, or did the commissioner pay for this ration from his own salary?
Yes, this stands out as an important query. In this very state, villages of honest but underprivileged people are going hungry for days because the center sanctioned ration either didn’t reach them on time or reached in lesser quantities. There are also allegations that TMC groupies are smuggling FCI supplied bag of food material. While the daily-wage earners go to sleep on empty stomachs despite provisions for feeding them by the Center owing to a corrupt and politicized state machinery, police feeding family members of someone who kicked members of that same police force, doesn’t amuse the law-abiding citizens.
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