Kolkata campus clash: Police commissioner RK Pachnanda axed

Two days after the death of a policeman during clashes between Congress and Trinamool party workers at a college election in Kolkata, the city police commissioner RK Pachnanda was removed from the post today.

West Bengal Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee said that Surojit Kar Purokayastha, IG, Law and Order has replaced Pachnanda as the new police chief.

On Wednesday, the Kolkata police arrested 12 people for the murder of sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury during a clash between Trinamool Congress and Congress student unions at the Harimohan Ghosh College in the Garden Reach area of Kolkata.

Mamata Banerjee. PTI

Mamata Banerjee. PTI

The top brass of the police department reportedly decided to go ahead with the arrests despite and alleged order from a politician to 'go slow on arrests' over Chowdhury's murder.

A report by The Telegraph quoted an officer recounting a senior colleague as telling police commissioner RK Pachnanda “Sir, we have to act now or the morale of the police will collapse. A sub-inspector has been killed on duty and there can be no further excuse for us.”

Chowdhury's daughter also voiced her resentment at the political establishment holding cops back from using their weapons when needed. "If his (Chowdhury's) superiors had allowed him to charge at the men who were running towards him with weapons, he would have beaten them back," Tanushree had said on Wednesday.

Trinamool minister Firad Hakim had claimed goons, who were not part of the college, were involved in the ruckus and they were the ones who had resorted to bombing and violence. The minister even claimed one Mukhtar, a Congress party worker, was the culprit. However, television channels had already aired footage of the youth in a red shirt rushing into a melee and firing at the police official, before escaping from the spot.

The Governor of the state, MK Narayanan, had earlier slammed the state government over the violence, saying that the law and order situation in the state was a concern. He further criticised the TMC minister Firhad Hakim, who is accused of shielding guilty. "If Mr Firhad Hakim is protecting the guilty, he has no business," he said, while speaking to reporters over the incident.

Updated Date: Feb 14, 2013 19:48 PM

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