No progress in probe as cops ignore one plaintiff | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 13, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 13, 2017

One Year of Attack on Santals

No progress in probe as cops ignore one plaintiff

No progress has been made in investigation as one of two plaintiffs has been missing in a case filed for killing of three Santals and looting and torching of Santal houses in Gobindaganj upazila, although a year has passed since the incident.

Santals of Gaibandha alleged that no progress has been made as one of the two plaintiffs is missing while police do not consider the other as a plaintiff.

They also alleged that police are considering Swapan Murmu as the plaintiff of the case although evicted Santals are claiming Thomas Hembram as plaintiff.

“Sugar mill authorities forced Swapan to file the case”, Sahebganj Bagda Farm Bhumi Uddhar Sangram Committee President Philimon Hembram said, adding, “We want police to consider Thomas Hembram as the plaintiff of the case.”

Even a year after the incident, police are yet to arrest any of the accused in the case, although they are moving freely in the area, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad President Rabindranath Soren alleged.

On November 6 last year, three Santal men were killed and 33 others hurt when police fired bullets and torched their houses during a drive to evict them from the sugarcane farm.

Since then, the landless Santal families have been passing their days under hundreds of makeshift tents at nearby Madarpur and Joypur villages.     

Later, Gobindaganj police took a case from one Swapan Murmu, but 10 days later, when Thomas Hembram went to file a case, police, rejected his appeal for filing a case.

Later, following a court order, police accepted Thomas's FIR as a general diary (GD). The court also directed police to give Thomas's FIR same status.

“Although I am one of the plaintiffs of the case, police are not considering me,” Thomas alleged.

In April this year, the case was handed over to Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI). 

Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Anwar Hossain Mian of Gaibandha PBI, also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, said he could not talk with plaintiff Swapan despite several attempts as he is unaware about his whereabouts.

When asked about Thomas's FIR, ASP Anwar said they are considering his GD with same status, but the person who filed the GD is not important to police.

When asked about Swapan's whereabouts, his wife Jotsna said her husband left for Dhaka immediately after filing of the case.

Shahjahan Ali, general secretary of Bhumi Punurudhar Sangram Committee, alleged that local lawmaker Abul Kalam Azad and Sapmara UP Chairman Shakil Akand Bulbul were involved in the attack.

Meanwhile, although autopsies of deceased Shyamal Hembram and Mongal Mardi were done, postmortem of another deceased Romesh Tudu has not been conducted yet due to reasons unknown.

Police did not find any evidence of local lawmaker's involvement in this regard, the IO said, adding that they were conducting drives to arrest the accused of the case.

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