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Cops started beating us and stripped us at gun point: Lalgarh students

Posted by Admin on November 22, 2009

In West Midnapore, cops deny stripping incident, students tell a different tale

The police in West Midnapore district today denied the allegations of students of Vikash Bharti Sikhshayatan at Salboni in West Midnapore district that they were stripped and searched by officers of the joint forces while they were returning from school yesterday.

On Friday evening, three students of class X — Lalit Mahato, Swadesh Mahato and Shantanu Mahato —were returning from schools in Salboni when, according to Lalit, a group of officers intercepted them and asked them whether they have seen any Maoists inside the jungle.

“After we told them that we have not seen anyone, we were asked to take off our clothes. When we denied to do so, they started beating us and stripped us at gun point,” said a nervous Lalit, a resident of Joalbhanga near Salboni.

Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma, West Midnapore, however, denied that any such incident has happened. Verma claimed that the students were not touched by the officers.

“The villagers and the students are giving a wrong statement. Nothing of that sort has ever happened. In Salboni, our jawans, while patrolling, heard sounds of firing coming from the jungles. They rushed inside the forest and found three students coming from that side. They asked the students whether they have seen any Maoists inside the forest,” said Verma.

Asit Mahato, convener of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), however, said: “This is not the first instance when the students were attacked by the police. The police have taken away the right to education from the tribal children by occupying the schools. Now they are assaulting them. We will not tolerate this action of the police for long.”

Around 800 students of several schools in the locality, meanwhile, blocked the Lodhashuli-Silda-Bankura national highway for a couple of hours last night, protesting against the incident. The blockade was withdrawn after senior police officers from the Jhargram police station rushed to the spot and promised to look into the matter. IE

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