Mamata nephew’s assailant arrested, but none who thrashed him

Kolkata (IANS): The youth who slapped Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was arrested Monday on various charges including attempted murder even as he lay hospitalised battling for life after being brutally assaulted by a mob.

But none of those who almost lynched Debasish Acharya after he hit Abhishek Banerjee on the dais of a Trinamool Youth Congress (TYC) public meeting Sunday, were taken into custody by police, who only slapped “culpable homicide” charges against some “unknown persons”.

State Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee virtually justified the mob fury, drawing parallel with the killing of Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country after then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984. A top ranking police officer claimed Acharya has links with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

However, Abhishek Banerjee – head of TYC – Monday forgave the assaulter and appealed to the party workers to maintain peace throughout the state.

“At a personal level, let me forgive the perpetrator and wish him early recovery. Today is a new day, let us look ahead. I also urge my co-workers to maintain peace, harmony throughout the state and be restrained in their actions,” Banerjee wrote on his official Facebook page.

Acharya, a resident of Tamluk in East Midnapore district, is now under treatment in Tamluk Hospital with multiple head injuries after he was mercilessly thrashed by a mob of purportedly Trinamool workers at the public meeting venue in Chandipur of the district Sunday.

Attending doctors said Acharya has sustained three deep wounds in his head besides injuries at other parts of the body and kept oscillating between consciousness and unconsciousness.

Meanwhile, the police slapped charges under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 447 (criminal trespass), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code against Acharya.

Police said there were plans to present him in court Tuesday if his condition improved substantially.

But despite television channels carrying extensive footage of a mob beating Acharya black and blue on the dais by pinning him on to the ground, none of them were arrested so far.

“Cases of culpable homicide has been registered against unknown persons under sections of the IPC dealing with assault and lynching,” East Mindapore Superintendent of Police Sukesh Jain told IANS over phone.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma claimed that the youth’s family had conceded that he had contacts with the ABVP and the RSS.

“His father stated he was appointed zilla promukh of district of ABVP in East Midnapore district. He also said he (Debasish) had come in contact with some ABVP and RSS people. His father stated that he also attended a conference of the ABVP in Contai,” said Sharma.

Mukherjee said the thrashing of the youth was a “natural reaction”, though “it would have been better had it not happened”.

“Whatever the reaction, it is nothing compared to the incident. This is a natural reaction. May be it would have been good had that too not taken place. But we did not go there with people from Bharat Sevashram Sangha and Ramakrishna Mission. .. How many people died after Indira Gandhi was murdered? Here the youth has not died.”

Mukherjee condemned the attack on Banerjee saying it has tarnished the political atmosphere and announced official investigation will be ordered.

Accusing the opposition of indulging in “suicidal political acts”, he indicated a BJP hand in the attack.

Trinamool general secretary Partha Chatterjee said the party would organise protest rallies against the “cowardly attack” on Banerjee.

Taking security personnel and party workers unawares, Acharya had climbed the dais while seemingly clicking photos on his mobile phone, came close to Banerjee and before anyone could react, slapped him on the face soon after he had started his speech. Taken aback, Banerjee moved back, and the youth’s second attempt to hit him did not succeed.

The incident led to chaos as party workers thrashed the attacker severely and later went on rampage, targeting policemen and media personnel. Several police officers and constables and four mediapersons sustained injuries while cops had to take shelter by locking themselves inside the Chandipur police station.