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Forester held for dagger attack bid

- Beat officer was drunk, say police

Alipurduar, Jan. 29: A forest beat officer in uniform was arrested for brandishing a dagger and trying to attack people at a weekly market at Falakata in an allegedly drunken state this noon.

Mantu Barman, who works in the Madarihat social forestry office, will be produced in the Alipurduar subdivisional magistrate’s court tomorrow. The 48-year-old has been charged under Section 107 of the CrPC (apprehension of breach of peace) which is bailable.

According to a police source, Barman started chasing people randomly without any provocation at the Falakata market with a dagger.

“As today was the weekly market at Falakata, there were a lot of people and they started running helter-skelter to save their lives. Most of the people were shocked to see the behaviour of a person in uniform. Few local youths tried to stop him and but they couldn’t,” said a witness.

Gourango Saha, who runs a shop in the locality, said he initially thought that police were chasing someone, but soon, found that a man in uniform was trying to attack people with a weapon. “He was targeting anyone who was on his path. Falakata police reached the spot and overpowered the forest officer. I have been doing business here for several years but this is the first time that I witnessed such an incident,” said Saha.

The police source said Barman had been taken to the Falakata rural hospital for a medical examination and it was found that he was intoxicated. The source said the forester had a family problem and that was why he had gone on the rampage in Falakata.

It is not known why Barman, who was on duty at Madarihat, had gone to Falakata, which is 25km away.

Akash Magharia, the additional superintendent of police, Alipurduar, said: “Mantu Barman will be produced in the subdivisional magistrate’s court in Alipurduar tomorrow.”

Jalpaiguri divisional forest officer T.R. Pradhan said: “I have sent a range officer to Falakata police station to inquire into the matter.” He refused further comments.