Ranaghat, Nov. 10: A lady Trinamul Congress councilor of Kalyani Municipality and a youth wing leader of the ruling party were arrested after they allegedly thrashed an on-duty civic volunteer as he stopped their SUV – a Renault Duster for entering a wrong lane at a diversion of NH12 in Ranaghat on Friday afternoon.
Angry after watching that the woman and her companions were beating up the civic volunteer, the local residents in Begopara of Ranaghat detained the offenders along with their car until police arrested them.
The accused lady councilor identified as Laxmi Oraon (53), who represents ward-8 of Kalyani civic body and party’s youth wing leader Ranjit Das, was produced before the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court in Ranaghat later in the afternoon which granted them bail. The Trinamul councilor and her companions were going to Krishnanagar to attend a party meeting when the incident occurred.
The duo was charged with voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, and wrongful restraint.
Superintendent of police of Ranaghat police district Kumar Sunny Raj said, “We have started a case against the offenders. The prime accused and her companion have been arrested…”.
In a video that went viral on social media, it was seen that Laxmi and her companions first threatened and abused the civic volunteer and later thrashed him (the authenticity of the video was not examined by the NfN).
Local sources said trouble broke out at about 2 pm when civic volunteer Nabakumar Mullick stopped the councilor’s SUV on the NH12 near the Begopara church gate. A police officer said, “There has been a continued traffic snarl for the past few months in the stretch due to the ongoing widening job of NH12. At present a railway over the bridge is under construction. As a result, a traffic diversion had to be put there by police for easy passage of vehicles.”
“But the councilor travelling in the SUV ignored the diversion and entered the wrong lane prompting the on-duty civic volunteer to stop the car. This apparently angered the lady councilor and her companions, who first verbally abused the civic volunteer and then began thrashing him. However, he was rescued by the local residents, who also detained the councilor and her companions before handing them over to police”, the officer added.
The incident has meanwhile caused sheer embarrassment to the Nadia Trinamul leadership. Trinamul’s Ranaghat district committee president Debasish Ganguly said, “I am pained to have learned about the incident. Laxmi Di is a very responsible leader. I don’t know what led her to act in such a way being a ruling party leader. But none is above the law….one must understand it”.
On the other hand, the light charges slapped against the offenders that helped them to get bail apparently have angered a section of the civic volunteers in the district who accused the police administration of surrendering to the ruling party leadership.
“This is very unfortunate….we have become subject to regular humiliation by the ruling party leaders who never obey traffic rules. Today’s arrest became unavoidable due to public outrage. But when the political identity of the duo was disclosed our seniors tried their best to slap minimum charges so that they are granted bail”, a civic volunteer in Ranaghat said.
Accused Laxmi Oraon, however, rubbished the allegations. She said, “It was the civic volunteer who first abused me. Nevertheless, I showed extreme patience. None of us had raised our hands on the civic volunteer except in self-defence”.