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Bangladesh visitors claim harassment by cop

Tapos Mallick said the officer, Anukul Mal, directed another cop to bundle him into a police vehicle

By Snehamoy Chakraborty in Bolpur(Birbhum)

  • Published 17.10.19, 5:20 AM
  • Updated 17.10.19, 5:20 AM
Imdadul Hoque Soofi, the editor of Desh Prosongo, Ashraful Alam Paplu, director of fine arts of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and gallery owner Tapos Mallick in Bolpur on Wednesday
Imdadul Hoque Soofi, the editor of Desh Prosongo, Ashraful Alam Paplu, director of fine arts of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and gallery owner Tapos Mallick in Bolpur on Wednesday Picture by Amarnath Dutta

Two Bangladeshi nationals, including the director of fine arts of the Dhaka-based Shilpakala Academy, and the owner of a private art gallery in Bolpur have alleged that they were harassed by a police officer on Tuesday night.

Tapos Mallick, the owner of the Prachi-Pratichi gallery hosting the two Bangladeshis, said the ordeal unfolded in front of his 14-year-old daughter.

On Wednesday, the Shipakala’s Ashraful Alam Paplu, Imdadul Hoque Soofi and Mallick said they were “traumatised” by the harassment and shocked to see the “aggression and rude behaviour” of cops in a culture hub like Santiniketan. Soofi is the editor of cultural magazine Desh Proshongo.

The gallery is on the third floor of a four-storey building in a Bolpur market complex. “We heard people shouting on the ground floor. We went downstairs. We could not tell if they were cops as all were in civvies. When I asked about the nuisance, they started threatening me, identifying themselves as cops,” said Mallick.

Mallick said the officer, Anukul Mal, directed another cop to bundle him into a police vehicle. He was let off later.

Mal, an assistant sub-inspector at the Bolpur police station who was on night duty, denied the allegations. “I found the main gates of the market open. There was a chance of theft. Then, the three came down and threatened me. I released them as soon as I was given their identity. It was a misunderstanding,” he said. 

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