Curfew imposed after mob attack on police station

Mentally ill man runs away with police rifle

From Our Correspondent

TURA: Curfew has been imposed in Mahendraganj border town of South West Garo Hills after an irate mob attacked the Mahendraganj police station with stones over rumours about a civilian being shot dead forcing police to fire tear gas and open blank fire to disperse the crowd on Monday noon.
The curfew will remain in force till 8 am Tuesday.
A magisterial inquiry has also been ordered by Deputy Commissioner Ram Kumar S who also promulgated Section 144 CrPC across the town in South West Garo Hills district.
The situation is a fallout of another incident on Sunday night in Nandichar area of Mahendraganj.
“A false rumour about a man being shot dead on Sunday night ignited the incident on Monday morning,” informed district Superintendent of Police R Ravi.
Police were called in on Sunday at around 9 pm by panicking citizens, who reported that a mentally challenged middle-aged man wielding a dao (machete) was trying to attack people on the PWD road.
According to the police chief, when the police team reached the site, the mentally challenged man, identified as Ahidul Islam (35), tried to attack them. While attempting to evade the attack, a police battalion constable fell into the flood waters by the side of the road. As he was trying to get up, the mentally challenged man snatched his Insas rifle and began pointing the gun towards the rest of the police team. When he refused to drop the gun, a sub-inspector fired a shot in the air from his service pistol but instead of letting go of the automatic rifle, the man ran away with the weapon into the darkness and has not been found.
As police launched a hunt throughout the night for the man to recover the weapon, rumour mongers spread false reports that the man was killed in Sunday night’s firing and his body concealed.
Later, a mob of around 400 angry people laid siege to the Mahendraganj police station at around 11 am on Monday and despite attempts by the police officials led by the SP to make them see reason, they refused to relent.
They began pelting stones damaging a parked fire tender truck and the windows of the station. Circle Inspector CD Shira who was at the site was injured in the stone pelting.
A government vehicle was also damaged.
Police initially attempted to disperse the mob by firing tear gas but had to resort to blank firing when the mob continued to stone the station and even attempted to burn down the fire tender.
Following the blank firing, the mob quickly disbursed.
“Situation is now under control with curfew and Section 144 CrPC in place and we have brought in reinforcements from Ampati town and Tura. We are still searching for the man who took away the police rifle,” said the district police chief who is camping at Mahendraganj.
The deputy commissioner has also stationed an additional district magistrate and the block development officer in Mahendraganj following the incident.
Narrating the incident of Sunday night, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Administration) GK Iangrai said in the process of trying to catch hold of the mentally ill person, one of the police personnel dropped his service rifle and while trying to recover his rifle, it fell into the river. “Ahidul Islam grabbed the service rifle and started to run away from the spot, therefore, SI ER Marak, who was present at that place, resorted to blank fire to deter the person from carrying away the service rifle and from fleeing away”, Iangrai said.
The official added that all efforts are being made to locate Islam.
He said at present the situation is under control and adequate forces have been deployed in the area to prevent any untoward incident.
“The situation is currently being superintended by gazetted officers, who have been directed to camp in the area and the general public is requested to maintain peace and tranquility, and not to take the law in their own hands”, the police official added.

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