Policemen in full gear — helmet on head, shield in hand. Hundreds of onlookers — staring skywards, pleading with the object of their attention “not to do it”. The man of the moment — 38-year-old Chandresh Singh, hammer in hand, threatening to jump off the second-floor balcony. The missing link in Wednesday evening’s high drama at Beckbagan —a woman who had “ditched” Singh back home in Chhapra, Bihar.
By the time he was finally stopped from taking the plunge, three policemen had been injured by the ‘hammerman’ and close to an hour had been lost in the ‘to-jump-or-not-to-jump’ jamboree.
Officer-in-charge of Karaya police station Subrata Ghosh said residents called up to complain that a man had climbed on to the balcony, locked the door and was “threatening to leap to his death”. Mohammad Alim Khan, a resident of the area, said: “We heard him shouting that he wants to kill himself as his girlfriend of five years had left him for another man.”
A police contingent rushed to the spot and surrounded the building. Two of them approached Singh on the parapet to try and persuade him to climb down. But the jilted lover was not giving up without a fight. When assistant sub-inspector Ashraf Jamal tried to grab Singh, he was hit on the helmet with the hammer. But Jamal, Ghosh said, managed to keep his feet and his grip.
The tug-o-war continued for a few minutes till another policeman, Kedar Das, joined Jamal. As the two men in uniform tried to drag him towards the staircase, Singh swung his hammer wildly, striking them repeatedly. A third cop joined the fray and also received some hammer blows. But finally, Singh was overpowered.
“We had to take the policemen to hospital. On Thursday, Jamal and Das were shifted to the police hospital on Harish Mukherjee Road,’’ Ghosh said.
Police questioned Singh and found that he hailed from Chhapra, in Bihar, and had just reached Calcutta. Singh told the cops that he was “madly in love” with a girl and they had even decided to get married. But a fortnight ago, he came to know that the girl was seeing someone else.
“He told us that when confronted by him, the girl admitted she had no feelings for him,’’ said an officer at Karaya thana. A distraught Singh then left for Calcutta to visit his relatives. Ghosh said Singh was admitted to Gobra hospital and a message has been sent to his family in Chhapra, via the local police there.