26 villagers were arrested for holding hostage and thrashing a 4-member police team that had gone on Wednesday to Kanhaisarai Chowk village of Lohta police station area, Varanasi, for interrogation in the case of a minor 15-year-old girl’s kidnapping. The minor girl of Ghamaria village had been enticed by one Shahid of Aurangabad a few weeks back, Times of India has reported. However, Hindi daily Dainik Jagran has given the names of two accused as Waris and Shahbuddin.
The policemen were rescued after many hours, and later that night police launched a massive operation involving police force from 10 police station, PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) and commandos of anti-terror squad to nab those who held the 4 policemen hostage and thrashed them. After identifying the persons involved through video clips, the police arrested 26 persons till late Wednesday night.
The girl’s father had lodged a named FIR on 5 July after his daughter disappeared.
The Times of India report adds –
“During police investigation it came to light that the accused Shahid was in regular contact with a friend of Ghamaria area. SI Bhupendra Singh and constables Manager Chauhan, Pawan and Rahul Prasad reached the friend’s house where they were told that the youth had gone to visit his maternal grandfather Haji Yasin. The police, along with the girl’s family members, reached Yasin’s residence in civil dress.
When the police asked Yasin and his family to produce the youth, they caught the trio (sic) while the girl’s family fled. Several villagers gathered at Yasin’s residence and after thrashing the policemen they tied them with poles.”
Variation in Jagran report
Dainik Jagran reports that the girl’s father had lodged a complaint against Waris and Shahbuddin of village Lallapura Sigra for luring away his 15-year-old daughter, and that the police team had gone to Kanhaisarai village based on mobile surveillance of these two accused.
Jagran also reports that after the 4 policemen were held hostage, they showed their ID cards and tried to reason with the villagers. But the villagers kept defending the accused and in turn attacked and abused the police team. Meanwhile, 2 policemen managed to slip away and informed the Lahota Police Station in-charge Ramkumar Singh. He started negotiating with the villagers but failed to inform higher-ups about this serious breakdown of law & order, for which he has now been suspended and is facing a departmental enquiry.
SSP Anand Kulkarni found out about the entire episode through social websites and realizing the gravity of the offence asked SP (rural) Amit Kumar to take immediate action.
The situation in the village is tense following the Wednesday night police crackdown, and shops and other establishments remained closed on Thursday. There is heavy police presence in the village and some villagers have left for their relatives’ place.
SP Politicizes the incident
Samajwadi Party leaders reached the village on Thursday and claimed that ‘police had carried out brutality on defenceless villagers.’ The SP delegation was led by ex-MP of Chandauli, Ramkishun Yadav and ex-MLA Mahendra Patel. They said the police action was uncalled for and especially protested police entering a mosque to make arrests.
All 27 people arrested were presented in court on Thursday and have been sentenced to 14 days judicial custody.
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