Jhargram constable in rooftop firing spree
A junior constable posted as a guard at the police armoury in Jhargram town went to the rooftop of the three-storey building on Thursday afternoon and shattered the lockdown silence by indiscriminately firing as many as 50 rounds from his self-loading rifle.
Around 1.30pm on Thursday, residents of Jhargram’s Deer Park area heard gunshots, which they thought were being fired to drive back elephants into the jungle. But as the gunshots continued for a while, they stepped out and saw constable Vinod Kumar, 32, a native of Purulia, firing in the air and onto the streets from his official rifle.
The deserted streets, however, ensured that there were no casualties.
Jhargram police cordoned off roads as far as 500m from the site by 2pm. Kumar remained on the rooftop of the building till the filing of the report with police officers waiting for the constable to exhaust his ammunition.
“We have no idea what triggered the incident. We implored him repeatedly over loudspeaker to come down, but to no avail,” said a senior officer, adding that Kumar had shot down a police drone dispatched for reconnaissance and also fired at a bullet-proof police vehicle that had been dispatched to the site.
“We are waiting for him to exhaust his ammunition. We suspect he has 60 rounds of ammunition as he had taken away his colleague’s cartridges,” the officer added.
Sources said Jhargram police superintendent Amit Kumar Rathore was supervising the operation. “The police are trying to ensure that there is no loss of life. Other employees of the premises have bolted themselves in their offices,” said a source.
Bystanders said Kumar ignored repeated pleas to surrender, in spite of senior officers promising that no action would be taken against him if he did so immediately.
“When we heard loud noises in the afternoon, we thought forest department officials were responding to a stray elephant,” said an eyewitness.