| Residents vent their ire outside Khajekala police station in Patna City on Thursday. Picture by Sachin |
Some residents of Patna City on Thursday tried to lynch a middle-aged person whom they suspected to be the notorious “Blade Man”. When the cops refused to surrender him to the mob, they attacked a police station, forcing the men in uniform to resort to lathicharge.
A criminal — named “Blade Man” by terrorised residents after the “Monkey Man” of Delhi and “Stoneman” of Calcutta — has been menacing the Patna City area over the past two days by attacking children and an adult with a blade.
On Thursday morning, residents of Noon ka Chouraha apprehended a man they suspected to be the criminal. “They thought this man looked similar to the sketches of the suspect released by the police yesterday. They started to beat him up. They would have lynched him if a police team did not rescue him,” said a police officer.
He added: “The suspect was taken to Mughalpura police outpost. The mob followed and demanded that the police hand over the man to them. They started to stage a protest in front of the outpost. Realising that the protest could take a violent turn, the cops slipped the suspect to another police station. The mob, ignorant of the whereabouts of the man, marched down to Khajekala police station — about 2km away — and continued their protest.”
Most of the “Blade Man” strikes had occurred in the jurisdiction of Khajekala police station.
The policemen asked the mob to disperse but they became more agitated. “They started to burn anything they could lay their hands on. The personnel locked the gates of the police station as some of the agitators were trying to enter the precincts. The agitators probably thought that the suspect was being held there. As they could not get hold of him, they vented their ire on vehicles parked on the road and civic utilities. They also pelted stones on the gates of the police station,” said the police officer.
He added: “As the situation was getting out of hand, reinforcements were called in. Police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the mob.
A number of people sustained injuries in the police action. The officer said: “It took almost three hours for the cops to pacify the crowd. But the lathicharge was not a major action. The violent agitators were just chased away. The cops had to take action as the police station was under attack.”
The suspect — a rag picker — over whom the ruckus erupted is in police custody at present. A senior police officer said: “The six victims of the attacks have been asked to come down to the police station and identify the suspect.”
Patna City deputy superintendent of police Sushil Kumar told The Telegraph: “It has not been confirmed if the suspect is the criminal. We are trying to identify him. Policemen in plain clothes have been deployed for the security of the people.”
Despite the arrest, another attack was reported from the Mughalpura area on Thursday morning. Sources said the victim was a middle-aged woman. The police, however, did not confirm the incident. Sushil said: “We don’t have any information about this. It is perhaps a rumour. People should abstain from spreading rumours as it would lead to more problems.”