Cops had rejected Birbhum victim’s plea

Slain panchayat deputy chief had sought protection in vain; carnage could have been averted if police had acted

Published: 28th March 2022 07:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2022 07:58 AM   |  A+A-

CBI officers and forensic experts at the site of carnage in Birbhum district on Saturday | PTI

Express News Service

KOLKATA:  It has come to light that Bhadu Sheikh, the deputy chief of the TMC-dominated local panchayat in Birbhum’s Rampurhat, who was gunned down on last Tuesday, had sought police protection eight months ago which was not entertained. A section of police believes that had Sheikh been given protection, his murder and the subsequent massacre, in which eight people were burned to death, could have been averted.

In a letter to Rampurhat sub-divisional police officer Sayan Ahmed, Sheikh had anticipated threat to life after his brother Babar Sheikh was shot dead, and sought police protection. “My brother was shot dead by miscreants recently. A murder case was lodged with Rampurhat police station and some of the accused were arrested. A few days back, the accused were granted bail and they started roaming around our village. I fear they may kill me like my brother. Being a people’s representative, I appeal for police protection,” Sheikh wrote to Ahmed on June 8.

Forwarding the plea to additional superintendent of police (headquarters) Dipak Sarkar, Ahmed wrote on June 14 last year, “Considering the threat perception of the applicant, one PSO. (personal security officer) may kindly be provided to him.” But there was no node from the higher authorities. “The application of Sheikh should have been taken seriously as his brother was murdered only a few days ago. 

Police personnel should have verified his threat perception. But nothing was done,” said a senior official of the Birbhum district police.  Ahmed, who was sent on compulsory waiting, and Sarkar could not be reached for their comments.  The worst carnage since the TMC government came to power in 2011 was a fall out of Sheikh’s murder. As the news of his killing spread, miscreants raided houses in Bogtui and set them ablaze. Seven bodies were found at one house. 

The experts of the central forensic laboratory found the lock of the house, from where seven bodies were recovered, was broken before it was set ablaze. “It indicates the assassins barged into the house before assaulting the victims and set them on fire,” said a forensic expert.


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