‘Minister’s phone call’ changes charge against TMC activist

Javed Ahmed Khan

A prominent Trinamool Congress activist was arrested on January 8 for alleged rioting in Topsia. However, following an alleged phone call from Fire Minister Javed Ahmed Khan the same day, the police changed the charges against him.

The "rioting" happened on January 1 when police went to Topsia to rescue a woman who was being attacked on the suspicion of being a child lifter. A mob attacked the police and burnt three police vehicles. However, the police said those attacked were not child lifters.

Yesterday, 10 people were arrested from Tiljala-Topsia areas in connection with the attack.

For the past three months, the fear of child lifters has kept areas in Tiljala, Topsia, Beniapukur, Narkeldanga and Rajabazar on tenterhooks. The police, however, maintain that the fears are unfounded.

"One of those arrested last night was Md Abdul, from whose possession about 5 kg explosives and improvised firearms were recovered," said P K Ghosh, joint CP (crime). He said that the police were looking at a possibility that the attacks were a smoke screen to cover up some other motive.

Prior to last night's arrests, Md Yusuf — prominent Trinamool activist and aide of the party bigwigs — was arrested on January 8, two days after he shared the stage with top TMC leaders like Sudip Bandopadhyay and Javed Ahmed Khan at a programme. Yusuf, a Topsia resident, was picked up by officers of the anti-rowdy section (ARS) of Kolkata Police at 2 pm.

"He was arrested on charges of rioting on January 1 at Topsia 1st Lane," said S Chakraborty, OC of Tiljala PS.

"He had to be arrested from the school where his children study because if we tried to arrest him from his area, there could have been trouble," said a senior officer of ARS.

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