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3 cops thrashed, confined for 11 hrs

- Arrest team branded robbers

Raiganj, Dec. 3: Residents of Bariolghat thrashed three policemen, including an assistant sub-inspector, yesterday, tied up their hands and gheraoed them for almost 11 hours for their alleged involvement in a robbery.

The villagers also damaged a police vehicle and deflated its tyres.

The assistant sub-inspector of Churamon outpost, a constable and a home guard were released at 1pm today after Kalyan Gurung, circle inspector, Kaliaganj, assured the villagers that action would be taken if they were found guilty.

Farmer Farikul Haq alleged that four policemen and three others came to his house around midnight. “We were about to sleep when I heard someone outside. I asked who was it and someone said they were policemen. I opened the door and four men in uniform and three others rushed in. An officer among them drew out a revolver and told me that I was being arrested in connection with a case. When I protested, they thrashed me. They also beat up my wife.” Farikul alleged that the men pulled out a trunk from under the bed, broke the lock and took Rs 15,000 from it and his mobile phone.

“I fled to my brother’s house next door. We raised the alarm hearing which, the neighbours rushed in. The three men and one policeman fled in one of the two cars they had got. We caught the three other policemen,” said Farikul from Bariolghat, 30km from here. Itahar police was informed. “The duty officer told us no police team had been sent here. He asked us to confine the trio. Irate people thrashed them and damaged the other vehicle.”

Today, around 7am, villagers flocked to see the trio with their clothes torn and dusty. A service revolver and two rifles were kept near them while 1,000-odd people stood guard with lathis and spears.

Safiqul Haq, a CPM panchayat member, said: “It is certain that they brought the robbers. They are from Churamon outpost, 15km away and the area is under Keuta outpost.”

Krishna Mondol, the gheraoed officer, said the allegations were false. “Yesterday, a complaint was lodged against Farikul. I and two constables, Gopal Chandra Singh and Dipankar Das, and home guard Mohammad Rahim went to arrest him. When the villagers saw us they started saying we were robbers. They beat us up. Singh managed to escape.”

David Lepcha, additional police superintendent, North Dinajpur, said policemen from an outpost couldn’t go on raids without informing local police station. “They were wrong. The circle inspector has been asked to submit a report based on which, we will take action.”