Malda, July 26: Police fired in the air and burst tear-gas shells after a mob attacked the block development office last evening in Habibpur when a vagrant took shelter there after being chased by local residents who suspected him to be a child-lifter.
The administration has clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC (code of criminal procedure) in a radius of 1km from the block development office for a month. Twelve persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Rumours had been doing the rounds for the past few days that child-lifters and cattle smugglers had entered the area. Around 5pm, people gathered around the block development office after they spotted a middle-aged man roaming in the place. Soon a large mob gathered and began chasing the man who entered the block development office, about 26km from here.
Block development officer Abhijit Ghosh came out of his chamber and took the man to safety. The mob then began throwing stones at the block development office. A large police force arrived around 5pm and after the crowd did not disperse, the police batoncharged.
According to Ghosh, the police also fired five rounds in the air and burst three tear-gas shells to disperse the mob.
The man whom the mob was chasing has been identified as Jitendra Parbat, a 47-year-old from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Ghosh said. We have admitted him to the district hospital, he said.
Twelve persons were arrested and 15 policemen were injured in the stone throwing.