At least 10 people, including five policemen, were injured Friday when villagers clashed with a police party which reached an Uttar Pradesh village to free four cops who were being held captive by the locals there, an official said.
On charges of misbehaving with women and manhandling the locals, a sub-inspector and three constables who had gone to Surjanpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur district to question some men in an old criminal case were held captive by the villagers Thursday night.
“Residents of Surjanpur village indulged in arson and vandalism and attacked us when we tried to free our four policemen,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Karan Singh told reporters in Lakhimpur Kheri, some 180 km from Lucknow.
Police baton-charged the locals in Surjanpur to bring the situation under control.
“In a series of protests, agitated villagers took to the streets and set police motorbikes afire and also pelted stones at the police. Additional security has been deployed in Surjanpur and its adjoining areas, following the violence in the village,” Singh added.
After hectic efforts, policemen were able to rescue the four cops who were being held captive since Thursday night.
“On the pretext of questioning the villagers, the policemen barged inside several homes and misbehaved with women. When we objected to their move, the policemen started beating us,” said Ramkumar Walian, a resident of Surjanpur.
Locals alleged that the four policemen, who had barged into several homes, also made away with several valuables.
“Their sole intention was to loot us… They even threatened us not to tell any senior police officer about their operation,” said another resident Vikas Maheshwari.
When contacted, district police chief R.K. Bharadwaj told IANS: “An inquiry has been initiated. It is yet to be ascertained what was the intention of the policemen who had reached the village to question some men in a criminal case.”
–Indo-Asian News Service