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25 hurt in Jorhat clashes
- Mishap death sparks protest at Rajabari; 5 cops among injured

Guwahati, May 13: A clash between irate bystanders and securitymen after a person was run over by a truck on Jorhat-Mariani Road in the Rajabari area left 25 people, including five policemen, injured this afternoon.

Paresh Dutta, 42, an LIC employee, died on the spot after he was run over by the truck while coming out of the LIC’s zonal office on his motorcycle around 2.30pm today.

The mob, infuriated by Dutta’s death, set a truck on fire and damaged a petrol depot in the area.

Hundreds of protesters, most of them allegedly LIC employees, came out on the road and set the truck on fire. The mob also attacked another truck.

The protesters prevented fire brigade engines and security personnel from reaching the site by blocking the road. They also threw stones at the security personnel, with the railway track running parallel to the road providing an unlimited supply of such missiles.

Five policemen, including additional superintendent of police (headquarters), S. Sonowal, were injured in the stone pelting. Sonowal has been admitted to the Jorhat civil hospital with back injury. Police had to call in reinforcements and resort to a lathicharge to disperse the crowd.

A police official, who was present at the incident site, said the security personnel were struck with stones from the railway tracks by the mob for over an hour.

“When the additional SP was hit by at least two stones, we had no option left but to resort to a lathicharge,” he said.

The official said the mob also prevented journalists from reaching the incident site. “A few photojournalists were hit by missiles,” he said.

Traffic on the road, one of the busiest in the district, which connects Mokokchung in Nagaland, remained stranded for over two hours following the incident.

The police personnel later entered the LIC’s zonal office and beat up several employees, who had allegedly ignited the protest.

At least 10 employees of the LIC office have been picked up in this connection.

“These employees started the protest. They would be arrested,” an official at the Jorhat police station said.

The protesters claimed that the police had totally failed to check reckless driving by truck drivers, leading to frequent accidents on the particular stretch of the road.

Only a few months’ back, a schoolgirl was run over by a truck.

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