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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Bengal: BJP activist’s murder accused TMC leader Abu Sufiyan selected as Chairperson of govt. body

Murder-accused TMC leader Abu Sufiyan (Sufian) has reportedly been appointed as the chairperson of the Selection Committee of Nandigram Swasthya Jila by the Mamata Banerjee government. This committee is responsible for recruiting health workers on a contract basis in Nandigram.

Abu Sufiyan, who was Mamata Banerjee’s election agent at Nandigram, is accused of involvement in the murder of local BJP activist Debabrata Maity. Debabrata was one of the many BJP activists who had become victims of the post-poll violence in West Bengal and was reportedly killed in a brutal attack by his opponent’s on May 3, the day following the poll results. Though he was immediately hospitalised, he was in a critical condition and succumbed to his injuries on May 13, after a 10-day-long ordeal. 

Sufiyan, the vice-chairman of the Purba Medinipur (East Midnapore) district board was also summoned by the team of CBI officials investigating the murder of the BJP worker. On September 16, the CBI officials subjected Sufiyan to a four-hour-long intense interrogation. Though the investigative agency had interacted with several members of the TMC while investigating the post-poll violence, this was the first time that a party leader known to share close ties with the state Chief Minister was grilled.

The agency had arrested 11 individuals, including S K Habibul, Sufiyan’s son-in-law, for their involvement in Debabrata’s killing; Sufiyan’s name didn’t appear on the initial charge sheet submitted by the CBI to the Haldia sub-divisional court. However, he remains a person of interest in this and other cases of post-poll violence.

Abu Sufiyan had applied for an interim bail at the Calcutta High Court to be on the safer side. But, the Calcutta High court on Monday, November 29 rejected his anticipatory bail plea. The CBI brought objections to the bail petition stating that they have sufficient evidence that corroborates Sufiyan’s connection with the post-poll violence and the murder of Debabrata Maity.

The court accepted the CBI’s arguments and denied the interim bail to Sufian. The CBI can now arrest him at any time. However, reports are suggesting Sufiyan has now contested the High Court’s decision and submitted an interim bail plea at the Supreme Court.

Popular Bengali journalist, Safiqul Islam of Arambagh TV, in his YouTube coverage of Sufiyan’s appointemnt to the govt. selection committee, has raised serious questions about the eligibility of Sufian to chair this committee. He further highlights that all the positions in other Swasthya Jilas have also been filled with politically connected candidates.

Such decisions not only expose that crucial posts are being filled by candidates with dubious backgrounds and criminal records, but also the unfairness meted out to the eligible and educated candidates by denying them their right to employment.

While hundreds of thousands of qualified youth in West Bengal are unemployed and protesting the state’s failure in providing them opportunities, the state dispensation selected a murder-accused like Sufiyan as the chairperson of the selection committee of a vital government body. This reveals the corruption and nepotism with which the administration of West Bengal is being run.

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