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100 cops held hostage

Dumka, May 13: Nearly 100 police personnel, including an inspector and officers-in charge of police stations, were being held hostage by angry villagers in this Jharkhand district and were yet to be freed when reports last came in.

Along with the police personnel, the block development officer and circle officer of Ramghar block under Dumka district have been held captive for over 11 hours today.

The trigger for the hostage drama occurred around 8 am yesterday, when a police team led by Rakesh Mohon Sinha, inspector of police of Jarmundi circle, went to Kuam village to clear a blockade on the Dumka-Ramghar road.

The village is located under Ramghar police station, some 40 km from the district headquarters.

The villagers had organised a road blockade since midnight in protest against a step by Ramghar police, which they felt was a blatantly unjustifiable move. Ramghar police had reportedly set free one Sonoti Besra, a 20-year-old woman, from the police station. The villagers accused Sonoti of being involved in the murder of a 24-year-old villager, Lobin Hembrom, on Wednesday night.

On Thursday, the villagers apprehended Sonoti and handed her over to Ramghar police. But the police set her free, without any clear or cogent reason. The villagers claimed that the murderers were close friends of Sonoti and had come to the village to kill Hembrom. The villagers are also holding Soni Murmu, mother of Sonoti, hostage along with the police and administrative officials.

Dumka deputy superintendent of police Charu Lakra rushed to the spot this evening.

Similar other allegations have been levelled against the local police earlier as well.

Jarmundi police on Thursday also set free another youth, Raju Kumar Khatic, who had been accused of raping a woman inside Basukinath Temple on Wednesday.

The woman, along with her husband and a sibling, came to the temple from Saraiyahat block for a special ritual. According to the norms of the ritual, the devotee was supposed to stay in the temple complex for a few weeks.

In the dead of the night, when the couple was sleeping in the temple premises, Khatic and two others allegedly sneaked into the temple precincts and raped the woman.

Other devotees present at the temple that night woke up on hearing the victimís screams and nabbed Khatic. The two other youths involved in the incident, however, managed to escape. Khatic was handed over to police personnel on duty at the temple.

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