Anti-Terror Agency NIA On Bengal Mob Attack

'Completely Unprovoked': Anti-Terror Agency NIA On Bengal Mob Attack

The NIA said its team was attacked in West Bengal’s Bhupatinagar

New Delhi:

The country’s top anti-terror agency NIA has strongly refuted allegations of assaulting residents in West Bengal’s Bhupatinagar, where its team had gone as part of its searches into a blast case that killed three people in December 2022.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a statement said its team came under “violent attack by an unruly mob” when they had gone to conduct searches in Naruabila village.

“The attack was completely unprovoked and uncalled-for, and an attempt to obstruct NIA from carrying out its lawful duties,” the NIA said.

It said the searches were conducted at five locations in the presence of independent witnesses, and under the security cover provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which included women constables.

The NIA had eventually arrested two key conspirators in connection with the bomb blast case in East Midnapore district. They were arrested following all lawful procedures, the NIA said.

The attack on the NIA team while they were arresting Balai Charan Maity and Manobrata Jana was aimed at stopping the team from reaching the Bhupatinagar police station to complete the arrest formalities.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee alleged the NIA was working for the BJP.

“Why did they raid at midnight? Did they have police permission? Locals reacted in the way they would have if any other stranger had visited the place at midnight. Why are they arresting people right before the elections? What does the BJP think, that they will arrest every booth agent? What right does NIA have? They are doing all these to support the BJP. We call upon the entire world to fight against this BJP’s dirty politics,” Ms Banerjee said.

The Bengal Chief Minister accused NIA personnel of assaulting residents in Bhupatinagar rather than the villagers initiating the attack.

The NIA in its statement, alluding to Ms Banerjee’s allegations, said an aggressive crowd had assaulted the NIA personnel who were taking the accused to the police station. “One NIA officer was injured and an official vehicle was damaged in the attack. The NIA has filed a police complaint seeking legal action against the assailants,” the anti-terror agency said.

Manobrata Jana and Bailicharan Maity had failed to appear before the NIA despite repeated summons. The NIA then filed an application before a special NIA court in Kolkata, which on April 3 in an order said the allegations were of very serious nature.

The special court had also said the NIA was “at liberty to proceed with the investigation as expeditiously as possible, and to take all necessary action with regard to arrest, search and seizure of the houses of the suspects/accused persons, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Criminal Code of Procedure, NIA Act and UA(P)A so far applicable for a proper and thorough investigation.”

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