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15 cops hurt in clash with mob

Dior (South Dinajpur), Oct. 6: At least 15 policemen were injured when they tried to quell a mob that went on the rampage here today.

Trouble started when a force from Balurghat police station tried to remove a blockade set up by local people at Baul, 5km from here. The four-hour blockade from 9am stopped traffic on the state highway connecting Balurghat and Malda.

Suddenly hundreds of people with daggers, sickles, bows and arrows appeared and started attacking the policemen, pelting them with stones.

A police vehicle was badly damaged. The police fired around 30 rounds in the air and lobbed 40 teargas shells to disperse hundreds of people, who surrounded them.

Forty people were arrested.

Swapan Chatterjee and Swapan Banerjee Purnapatra, the district magistrate and the superintendent of police respectively, visited the spot. They, too, were struck by the flying stones. “Fifteen of our men were injured. But nobody was hospitalised,” the police chief said. Section 144 has been clamped on the area and two companies of the BSF and RAF posted.

In the evening, the district magistrate said the situation was under control although there was tension. “Law and order has been restored,” he said.

Home secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti said in Calcutta that the district administration organised an all-party meeting in the evening as part of its exercise to restore normality in the area.

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