Police report points to pressure from TMC leaders to recover machine
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With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blaming the Birbhum district administration for mishandling the situation at Loba village in Dubrajpur saying that she was not aware about it, local police administration are now slowly spilling the beans over the Tuesday's operation of recovering the earth-moving equipment owned by mining firm EMTA that led to the clash in which 33 people, including 27 policemen, were injured.
It is learnt that West Bengal Police Directorate was today told by Birbhum police that district Trinamool leaders and a Cabinet minister "continuously pressurised" the local police station officers and then Birbhum Superintendent of Police Hrishikesh Meena to recover the machine that was forcibly kept by Loba villagers for the last 11 months.
"The district leadership of the Trinamool Congress had been putting pressure on the local police officers to salvage the machine. A senior leader of the Trinamool Congress district committee asked the district police to recover the vehicle. There were intelligence reports that the situation in the village was becoming worse and there were chances of heavy backlash from the villagers if the police forcibly tried to enter the village. But under mounting pressure on the district administration, it was decided to recover the machine after the Pujas," said a senior police officer in the state secretariat pleading anonymity. "Police tried to reclaim the vehicle twice. However, they retreated after the villagers. Internal police report points to pressure from TMC leaders to recover machine resisted the attempts. On November 5, the operation was planned after the local police station received a court order for reclaiming the vehicle," the officer added.
Incidentally, the state government acted against the SP and asked Meena to go on a leave. It was alleged by the state administration that the SP did not inform the higher authorities of the police directorate in advance about the operation. However, sources said that Meena did inform his superiors about the operation beforehand. "The SP of a district is competent enough to take such decisions and conduct the operation as the vehicle was illegally possessed by the villagers for a long time. However, Meena had informed his seniors about the operation after it was planned," said the senior officer.