Sandeshkhali impact: Two senior cops transferred by West Bengal Govt

Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) Two senior cops were transferred by the West Bengal Government on Saturday in wake of the continuing tension at Sandeshkhali in 24 Parganas District, under whose jurisdiction the troubled zone comes.

The area has been rocked by protests by women alleging sexual assault by local Trinamool Congress leaders and inaction by the police.

Senior IPS officer Supratim Sarkar, who was earlier the Additional Director General (Traffic), has replaced Siddhinath Gupta as the Additional Director General (South Bengal).

Similarly, the current Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Barasat Range, Sumit Kumar has been transferred as DIG (Security). Kumar has been replaced by Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay, who was earlier the DIG of Malda Range.

State government insiders said that the transfers are extremely significant in the backdrop of the expected visit of the full Bench of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the first week of March to take stock of the situation for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

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Government sources said since Sandeshkhali has already come to the notice of the commission, in all probability it would have asked the government to transfer these senior cops in due course. So before receiving any such order from the ECI probably the state administration thought it prudent to transfer the two officers, they said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, amid widespread criticism and pressure from different sources, the state police finally registered cases under clauses of rape and attempt to murder, against two Trinamool Congress leaders Uttam Sardar and Shibu Hazra.

While Sardar is already in police custody, Hazra is absconding like his political mentor Sheikh Shahjahan, the mastermind behind the attack on ED and CAPF personnel at Sandeshkhali on January 5.

Sources said that cases had been registered against Hazra and Sardar based on an in-camera statement given by a victim from Sandeshkhali.

To recall, the protesting women at Sandeshkhali last week burnt down a poultry farm and a farmhouse owned by Hazra. He has been absconding since then.

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