Five policemen were held hostage and severely beaten up by villagers in Chhattisgarh who mistook them for Maoists as they were carrying out raids in civilian clothes, officials said on Friday.
The incident took place Thursday in Rawai village when the police team led by Additional Superintendent of Police Hemant Kumar raided the house of Yogesh Shukla, a block-level Congress leader, after a tip-off that the politician had illegally stocked a large quantity of countrymade liquor.
Rawai, some 400 km from here, is in Korea district in the state's northern region and is partially affected by Left wing extremism.
"The police team made a blunder to raid the politician's house in civil dress and it made the mistake of entering the house when only women and children were present," an official at the police headquarters said.
He added that women of the family assumed that the policemen were Maoists and protested their entry into the house, and the policemen, some of whom were reportedly drunk, fired in the air. After hearing the gun shots, the villagers gathered near the house. The policemen began running after which the villagers chased them, caught them and severely beat them up.
The cops were held hostage for hours and freed only when senior police officials reached the village and assured the angry villagers that they were policemen and not Maoists.
Hemant Kumar and another policeman, Hem Kumar, received serious injuries and were rushed to hospital where their condition was stated to be critical.
Upset with the public assault, officials at the police headquarters here said those who ordered the raid to be carried out in civilian clothes would be punished.