Eight days on, no arrest in Loba violence case

Police 'instructed' by govt not to act

Eight days have passed since villagers and police clashed at Loba village in Dubrajpur, injuring 33 persons. But the district police are yet to make any arrest in the case.

Sources said the Trinamool Congress government has apparently instructed the police not to act on the incident, keeping the upcoming panchayat elections in mind.

On November 6, thousands of villagers who were protesting against land acquisition by a private coal mining company took on the police. Over 25 policemen including Hrishikesh Meena, the then SP of Birbhum, were reported to have sustained injuries in what appeared to be a well-orchestrated attack by the villagers who were armed with bows and arrows and crude bombs.

There were also allegations that the police opened fire, though the state government denied the allegation.

According to sources, the police registered a rioting case with Dubrajpur police station after the incident, However, the police have been instructed not to proceed with the investigation and make any arrest in the case.

Sources in Trinamool ranks said that the police and administration have been ordered not to act on the incident due to the upcoming panchayat election. "We have told the district administration not to act and not to arrest any villager now. We have been told by the party leadership to hold a meeting in the area and resolve the issues. We will hold a meeting in the area in November-end," said Anupbrata Mondal, TMC district president, Birbhum.

The cartridges found by the villagers at the spot are said to be the ammunition of INSAS rifles. A senior police official said, "The cartridges belong to rifles that were looted from the police force by Naxalites. We have got evidence of the presence of Naxalite elements in the area. Even though we have identified those persons who instigated the villagers to attack the police with bows, arrows and bombs, we are yet to arrest them."

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had said in a press conference that the police were attacked, ordered the removal of Birbhum SP H Meena. Meena was asked to proceed on leave.

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