Villagers thrash cops and free eight

Alipurduar, Nov. 18: A mob of 400 people injured 12 policemen and freed eight persons who were caught gambling in a fair at Sorugaon in Falakata last night.

The villagers also pelted the police with stones and damaged two of their vehicles.

One policeman has suffered a serious head injury and has been admitted to a nursing home in Cooch Behar.

According to a police source, a fair was organised in Sorugaon for which the organisers had not taken permission from the administration. The police was informed that gambling was rampant in the fair and went to curb it. Sorugaon is 51km from Alipurduar.

Around 12 police personnel from Falakata arrived in two vehicles at the fair around 3.30am and arrested eight persons for their involvement in gambling. When the police tried to take those arrested in a police van, more than 400 people surrounded the policemen.

According to the police, the villagers threw stones and pieces of bricks, which resulted in a scuffle.

The on-duty police personnel were then forced to flee from the spot as one of their colleagues had suffered a serious head injury. Most of the police suffered minor injuries.

Kiran Chandra Barman was taken to Falakata rural hospital but was later shifted to a nursing home in Cooch Behar in a critical condition.

Amit P. Javalgi, the SP of Jalpaiguri, said: "We have started a specific case because police personnel have been restrained from performing their duty. A list of 18 persons has been made but for the sake of investigation we are not ready to disclose their names. Strong action will be taken against the villagers who assaulted police officials."