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21 Nov 2017, 21:05 HRS IST
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  • Court directs media not to publish names of witnesses

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17:19 HRS IST

Khagragarh blast case

Kolkata, Sep 1 (PTI)
A city court has directed the print and electronic media not to publish the names and addresses of witnesses deposing in the Khagragarh blast case to ensure their safety.

Acting on a petition by the NIA, city sessions court chief judge K K Kumai passed the restraining order against the media, preventing it from revealing the identities of the witnesses to ensure that their safety and security are not compromised.

The judge observed that it is possible that quite a large number of people have already been indoctrinated by the Jamat-Ul-Mujahideen terror outfit, allegedly involved in the incident, and its sympathisers can intimidate the witnesses.

The NIA had told the court that inspite of the trial in this case being conducted "in-camera", the deposition of prosecution witnesses alongwith their identities have been published by a section of media.

The NIA counsel claimed that the witnesses were feeling demoralised and threatened. It said that it has about 630 witnesses in the case and that their identities should be protected.

The central investigating agency prayed for a restraining order on print and electronic media from publishing news with regard to the Khagragarh blase case trial, without prior permission of the court.

A huge blast had occurred at Khagragarh in Burdwan district on October two, 2014, in which two suspected terrorists, who were making IEDs and other explosive devices there, were killed.

The court noted that "After investigation, the NIA could elicit from evidence gathered that it was a conspiracy of Jamat-Ul-Mujahideen, which is a Bangladeshi Islamic fundamentalist and terrorist organisation and it had already struck roots in West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand to select youths for indoctrination into the violent Jihadi ideology."

"It is quite possible that quite a large number of people have already been indoctrinated and therefore there are sympathisers to the above cause," Judge Kumai said in the order passed yesterday.

"Bengal shares a very porous border with Bangladesh and therefore the sympathisers of Jamat-Ul-Mujahideen would at will enter into the state and intimidate the non-sympathisers.

"Under the circumstance, the witnesses who have been brave enough to depose and willing to depose in this case, would naturally feel intimidated, if their names and addresses are published in the newspapers," the court observed.

The court also noted that with existence of sleeper cells and sleeper modules in this part of the country, witnesses may be compromised.

"Witnesses who are willing to depose may also feel disinclined to do so in the light of such threat looming over them," Judge Kumai observed while passing the order.

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