Protesters alleging torture lay siege on West Bengal police station

November 8th, 2008 - 12:11 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 7 (IANS) Irate locals lay siege Friday to a West Bengal police station and blocked roads in West Midnapore district protesting against alleged torture and arrest of “innocent” students following Sunday’s landmine blast.The blast was triggered by suspected Maoist ultras on the convoy of two union ministers and West Bengal Chief Minister Budhhadeb Bhattacharjee.

“About two to three hundred locals staged a demonstration at the Lalgarh police station demanding release of three arrested students,” state Inspector General of police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS here.

“We have arrested three people for creating disturbances,” Kanojia said.

Reports from the district claimed that the angry protesters have disconnected the power supply in the area and dug roads, but the police did not confirm this.

“Police are beating us mercilessly. They are raiding our villages at all odd hours. We are very scared,” a middle aged woman told reporters at Lalgarh.

“The road blocks (have been organised) against the police brutalities,” said a protester in the area.

Meanwhile, the three students were released on bail after furnishing personal bonds of Rs.300 each.

Three others - including a school teacher and a public phone booth owner - suspected to be Maoist linkmen, have been remanded to police custody by the magistrate.

Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada had a narrow escape in the blast, which occurred as they were returning after groundbreaking ceremony of the JSW Bengal Steel project in Salboni.

Six policemen in Paswan’s pilot vehicle were injured in the blast near the Kalaichandi culvert at Bhadutala, three kilometers from Midnapore town.

Police are on the lookout for Karan Hembram who they said was the brain behind the blast.

The administration, on a tizzy after the incident, is holding hectic meetings to beef up the security of the chief minister and other ministers.

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