A constable of the 146 Battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF), Uttam Sutradhar, who has been accused of shooting dead two of his colleagues at the Maldakhand Border Outpost in Bhatole under the Raiganj police station in North Dinajpur district yesterday, was today produced in the court, which sent him in five days’ police custody.
Several residents of Bhatole gathered in the court to witness the accused BSF jawan today.
BSF officials said Mr Sutradhar, who hails from Tripura, surrendered to his Commanding Officer after killing Inspector Mahendra Singh Bhatti, 57, and constable Anuj Kumar, 33.
However, on the court premises today, (SNS photo) the accused was heard shouting that he did no wrong and that he merely hit back at “dishonesty and injustice” in the force.
Sources said that the accused constable told the police that senior officials had a “nexus” with smugglers and that he protested the same. “He told the police that Inspector Mahendra Singh Bhatti tried to kill him with a sharp weapon, which prompted him to open fire at him and constable Anuj Kumar,” the sources said.
Police also said that the accused had some grievances with his seniors, and that they were still interrogating him and trying to ascertain the actual motive behind the incident.
The Trinamul Congress pradhan of the Bhatun Gram Panchayat (GP), Yousuf Mahamad, said there have been allegations of a “nexus” between smugglers and BSF officials in the region earlier too.
“Yesterday’s incident was fallout of the same and an example of such nexus,” he said. Bhatole village where the shooting incident took place falls under the Bhatun Gram Panchayat.
According to a leader of the tribal community of the region, Jatha Murmu, cattle lifting and smuggling is rampant in border areas in the area. “It is a fact that a vast area of maize and paddy fields has been damaged due to such cattle lifting here,” he said.
The Superintendent of Police of North Dinajpur, Sumit Kumar, said, “The accused BSF jawan has been taken in police custody. Preliminary investigations have revealed that he had some grievances with his senior officials. We have started further investigations to find out the truth.” BSF officials were not available for comment despite several attempts to reach them over the phone.