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West Bengal: Man forced to carry mother’s dead body after being unable to pay ambulance charges, cops arrest NGO Head Ankur Das who helped him

Das, who runs a local NGO in Jalpaiguri, was taken aback by the sight of the father-son duo struggling to carry the dead body. He immediately intervened and provided a mortuary van to them. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested.

On January 10 this year, the Jalpaiguri police in Mamata Banerjee-ruled West Bengal arrested an NGO Head named Ankur Das for helping a man, Ram Prasad Dewan, to carry the corpse of his mother to his residence.

The incident dates back to January 5, 2023, when Ankur learnt about the case of Ram. The latter was asked to cough up ₹3000 to avail of the ambulance service of the Jalpaiguri Medical College and Hospital.

Unable to bear the expense, Ram and his father Joy Krishna Dewan were left with no option but to carry the dead body of 72-year-old Lakshmirani Dewan on their shoulders. This was despite the fact that the hospital was 50 kilometres away from their house in the Nagardangi area.

Ram Prasad Dewan carrying the dead body of his mother with the help of Joy Krishna Dewan

The deceased was admitted to the hospital on the previous day after she complained about breathing issues. It must be mentioned that the ambulance earlier charged ₹900 to bring Lakshmirani Dewan to the hospital but raked up the price by 3 times when asked to drop them at their residence.

Das, who runs a local NGO in Jalpaiguri, was taken aback by the sight of the father-son duo struggling to carry the dead body. He immediately intervened and provided a mortuary van to them.

Meanwhile, a video of the incident went viral on social media. Soon after, a police complaint was lodged against Ankur Das by the head of a local ambulance organisation, Dilip Dutta.

While speaking to the media, he alleged that it was a staged act (Sajano Ghotona), aimed to defame the State government and tarnish the image of the Jalpaiguri district.

On January 10, 2023, the Jalpaiguri Kotwali police picked up Ankur Das and interrogated him for 8 hours. He was thereafter arrested and produced before a local court on the following day.

Instead of dismissing the case, the court sent the NGO Head to police custody for a period of 4 days. Ankur Das was booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 120b (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) and 500 (defamation).

SP (Jalpaiguri) Biswajit Mahato said, “…Ankur Das was arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by the secretary of the Private Ambulance Owners’ Association. The complainant alleged that he has been defamed.”

Ankur Das gets out on bail, image via Tv9 Bangla

On Sunday (January 15), Ankur Das was produced before the court again and this time the police sought an additional 5 days in custody. However, the court relented and granted interim bail to the NGO Head, whose only crime was to help a struggling father-son duo.

While speaking to TV9 Bangla, he said, “I condemn what the police did under the pressure of the powerful. Attempts have been made to hide the real culprits during these six days. But the way the people of Jalpaiguri stood by me is an honour. It is the first step in the victory of truth.”

However, Ankur Das cannot step outside the Jalpaiguri district without the prior approval of the court and needs to visit the Jalpaiguri Kotwali police station once a week.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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