A police constable and several others were injured in a clash between residents of a Taratala neighbourhood and cops over the “rescue” of an unidentified woman early on Monday.
Two cops out on night patrol on a cycle saw the woman sitting by the side of Goragacha Road, off the Taratala crossing, around 1.40am, with a few men around her. The police and residents later described the woman as “mentally unstable”.
“Apprehending a threat to the woman’s security, the policemen had decided to rescue her. They requested some residents who were around to ask women from the locality to accompany them after they rescued the woman,” said a senior officer.
Residents alleged that the policemen on night patrol were drunk and beat them up with lathis after they said it would not be possible for any woman from the locality to accompany the cops at that hour.
A group of residents smashed the windows of a police kiosk in the locality and damaged windowpanes of a police vehicle stationed nearby, said the police.
According to the rules, the police cannot take any woman — accused or victim — into custody in the absence of a woman cop.
“The men standing there, who were intoxicated, not only refused to cooperate but started an altercation with the police. They started throwing bricks and injured one of the constables,” the officer added.
The constable, Basudev Lahiri, was later hospitalised with a leg injury.
A case has been started against unknown persons under sections for rioting, voluntarily causing grievous hurt with deadly weapons, voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession, mischief and theft.
The police alleged that the mob had snatched the cycle on which the cops were on patrol.
The people of the area, however, denied the charges. “The police were intoxicated. They started beating us mercilessly just because we said women of the locality would not accompany them so late at night. During the altercation, we snatched a bag from one of the cops and found liquor bottles, a knife, an onion and a police cap inside. One of the cops, while fleeing, fell into a drain and hurt his leg. He left his cycle. We have deposited the bag and the cycle to the local police station,” claimed a youth from the locality.
Senior officers at Lalbazar rubbished the allegations. “Had he (the injured constable) been drunk, it would have figured in the medical report before he was hospitalised,” said an officer.
The woman who the police wanted to rescue was taken to MR Bangur Hospital. Her identity is yet to be established.
Police sources said the woman was eventually taken to the police station without any woman cop as escort. Reinforcement later came from Lalbazar and a woman cop accompanied her from the police station to the hospital.