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Tension prevails in West Bengal's Tehatta sub-division

West Bengal,Crime/Disaster/Accident,Defence/Security, Thu, 15 Nov 2012 IANS

Kolkata, Nov 15 (IANS) Tension prevailed Thursday at Tehatta in West Bengal's Nadia district, a day after mob-police clash left one person dead and nine others injured, an official said Thursday as top police officials rushed to the region to take stock of the situation.

The state Congress asked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to relinquish the home portfolio and order a judicial probe into the incident. The state government has Wednesday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

A police picket was posted at the spot, around 150 km from here, as many shops remained closed while people seemed panic-stricken.

The police have claimed that following a dispute between two communities over a piece of land, a police team went there to settle it when a mob put up a road blockade and attacked them with bombs and stones.

The police were reportedly forced to open fire, killing one person and injuring nine others in Tehatta sub-division.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha said police fired three rounds in "self-defence" to disperse the "unruly" crowd afteruse of batons, bursting of teargas shells and firing of rubber bullets and pellets failed.

The agitators had also set on fire several police vehicles.

A team of senior police officers, led by Inspector General (South Bengal) Mihir Bhattacharya visited the area in Nadia district in the morning and held a meeting at the Tehatta police station. Sub-divisional police officer Sailesh, who had opened fire, was also present.

A delegation of Congress MLAs went round the area and later demanded a probe with a sitting judge at the helm.

"All guilty police officers should be dismissed. The chief minister, who has the habit of speaking on all issues, has put leucoplast in her mouth. She should let go the home portfolio. She is incapable of handling it," said Congress MLA Manoj Chakraborty.

Meanwhile, the SDPO claimed that he was forced to fire to save his own life as also that of his security guards. "We had exhausted all options - limited lathi (baton) charge, plastic bullets and anti-riot gun. But still a crowd of 300-400 chased me and we took shelter in a house," he said.

"The crowd tried to break open the door, and when I realised that some in the mob had broken into the house, I fired in exercise of the right to private defence of my life and that of the other two policemen," he explained.

The violence occurred eight days after the mob-police clash and alleged police firing at Loba village of Birbhum district that left 33 injured following an old dispute over land acquisition for coal mining. The government has, however, denied the police opened fire in Loba.

The opposition was quick to slam the Mamata Banerjee government for the incident at Tehatta, asking it to rein in the "trigger happy" police.

Five people have been arrested in this connection and processions and meetings prohibited to maintain peace in the area.

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