The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police on raid trip attacked, gheraoed

Islampur, Dec. 1: Two policemen were attacked and gheraoed for around three hours by people of Kalnagin Ojhapokhor early this morning when they had tried to arrest a person in a snatching case.

The villagers released the two assistant sub-inspectors of Islampur station only after a reinforcement, led by Islampur subdivisional police officer David Lepcha, reached the spot.

According to sources, the two ASIs, along with four constables, had gone to Mohammed Israel’s house to arrest him for robbing Asim Biswas, a resident of Nandajhar, of Rs 25,000 in October.

“When we knocked the door, Israel and his wife Ayesha Khatoon came out. When we tried to take Israel into custody, Ayesha put up resistance, leading to a tussle. Soon, many villagers, armed with lathis and other weapons, gathered near the house and started attacking us,” said M. Mondal, one of the ASIs.

Mondal said the mob had dragged them away.

“We got scared after being separated from the four constables. But when the constables informed the district headquarters about the incident over wireless in our jeep, a contingent of police reached the village around 5am. Seeing the huge force, the mob retreated and released us,” said Mondal.

Apart from Lepcha, inspector-in-charge of Islampur station Subhas Pradhan was also in the contingent.

The police then arrested Israel and his wife. Ayesha was, however, released later.

District police chief Shankar Singh, who arrived at the spot in the morning, said that they would carry out raids in the village to arrest those who had targeted the police and prevented them from discharging their duties.

Singh later said no one had been arrested till this evening in connection with the attack. The male members in the village have fled the area.

The Congress has claimed that Israel is a member of the party. “How can a person, who has crossed 60, snatch away somebody’s cash,” Congress chairman of Islampur Municipality Kanailal Agarwal asked.

Agarwal alleged that the police were trying to implicate Israel in a false case. He alleged that the villagers had protested against the “police excesses” and denied that they had kidnapped the two ASIs.

The municipality chairman said the police had started raiding the village since this morning causing fear among the residents.

“As men have fled the village fearing police reprisals, only women and children are there now. The police must restrain themselves. Otherwise we shall start a movement,” he said.

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