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Hostage crisis in hospital

Birbhum, Sept. 3: An armed youth stormed the male ward of the Suri State General Hospital this evening and took the patients hostage at gunpoint, demanding that he be allowed to leave with two of them.

He shot at and injured a local Trinamul Congress leader as he tried to negotiate with him.

On hearing of the incident, senior police officials, including superintendent of police Akhil Roy, rushed to the hospital. But they failed to enter as the youth threatened to blow up the male ward.

A strong police force and a contingent of Rapid Action Force (RAF) has encircled the hospital. Authorities are trying to negotiate with the youth to end the standoff, but there was no breakthrough till late tonight.

Preliminary investigation showed the incident is a sequel to a long-standing rivalry between two local groups. “Two persons, Haradhan Mandal and Sadananda Nayek, were shot at by three youths on August 29. The attackers entered the hospital (tonight) with an intention to abduct Mandal and Nayek. As local people had gathered outside the hospital, two of them fled while their associate locked himself in the male ward,” said an official of Suri police station.

Three persons in their thirties stormed into the hospital around 8.30 pm. “They hurled bombs while entering. All three went straight to the male ward where Mandal and Nayek are admitted,” he added.

Gopinath Mukherjee, a patient’s relative who was inside during the raid, managed to come out safely.

“He is armed with a pistol. Bombs are tied around his waist. He is threatening to explode all the bombs if anyone tries to enter or leave the ward,” he said.

Reports reaching here said the youth is demanding the immediate hand over of the two patients. “We are trying to talk to him. We even sent tea mixed with sedatives, but he refused to take it,” said a senior police official.

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