Tilu Bhatta residents pelt stones at Sonari police station on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Five policemen, including a sub-inspector, were injured when a mob attacked Sonari thana on Wednesday morning to avenge action against a slum dweller accused in a snatching the afternoon before.
The 40-strong mob of teenagers and youths of both sexes from Tilu Bhatta slum pelted stones at the men in uniform. Eyewitnesses said they brought a truckload of stones and broken bricks for the hour-long attack. Trouble quelled only after RAF personnel arrived on the spot and chased the protesters away.
The injured were rushed to MGM Medical College and Hospital.
Deputy superintendent of police (headquarters-II) Jagat Prasad confirmed that action against a slum dweller had spurred the attack.
“Based on a complaint that a cellphone and cash had been snatched away from an employee of a construction firm, a policeman posted at Marine Drive outpost caught the accused, Raju, on Tuesday afternoon. In the evening, a mob stormed the outpost and forcibly freed Raju. They also assaulted a constable on duty,” said Prasad.
The senior officer said that on Wednesday morning, slum dwellers must have read in vernacular dailies that police would register a case against Raju. Some of them went to Sonari police station to enquire about the probable action.
“But it was too early and no officer had come. So, the constables told them to come back later. Around 9am, 40 people turned up at the police station and started pelting stones,” Prasad said.
He added that besides assaulting the policemen, the mob damaged vehicles.
As the attackers were not paying heed to appeals to disperse, police had to press a private videographer for covering the incident. “We got the incident covered so that offenders may be identified and dealt with. As of now, no arrests have been made,” the senior officer added.
Officer-in-charge of Sonari police station Sanjiv Kumar said they had identified the attackers and would take stern action against them.
A section of local residents claimed that RAF jawans even grilled people not connected with the incident.
“As the slum dwellers fled, the jawans caught hold of every youth they came across and harassed the latter. They also assaulted some people, who had nothing to do with the stone-pelting,” claimed resident Rajkumar Singh
DSP Prasad said once he arrived on the spot, he categorically asked the RAF personnel not to subject anyone to random grilling.
SSP Amol V. Homkar too visited the police station after the incident.