An angry mob set fire to a police station, injured around a dozen policemen, and damaged half a dozen public and private vehicles in Ghaziabad on Monday evening to protest the death of a man in "accidental" police firing.
The violence brought traffic to a halt on National Highway 24, that leads to Lucknow.
The incident occurred late on Monday evening in Simbhaoli police station on NH-24 in Ghaziabad district of Western Uttar Pradesh.
According to police, at about 7 pm a police patrol Gypsy vehicle of Simbhaoli police station noticed six men engaged in gambling. When the men noticed the police coming towards them, some of them attempted to flee. But the police opened fire on them, injuring one of the men. The other five fled the spot. The police then took the injured man to the Ghaziabad-based Government MMG Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The dead man was identified as Parvez, 30, a resident of village Vat under Simbhaoli police station.
As news of his death spread in the area, the angry residents jammed vehicular movement on NH-24 and set fire to the police station. When the police and civil administration officials rushed the spot and attempted to control the situation and tried to clear the highway, a Deputy Superintendent of Police Sheel Kumar sustained critical head injuries. He was rushed to the hospital at Ghaziabad.
Another mob assembled on the highway and burnt a police Gypsy car belonging to the sub divisional magistrate of Garh who was trying to control the situation. However, SDM Pushpa Devrar managed to escape. The angry mob then damaged private and public vehicles that were stuck on the highway due to the jam.
Chhote Khan, a local leader, claimed that the police were to blame for the turn of events. "The gamblers were not heinous criminals. They were even not gamblers but were simply playing cards. But the police branded them gamblers. They could have been nabbed without any resistance but the police unnecessarily showed its strength on innocent citizens".
The SSP Akhil Kumar said, "The police team opened fire accidentally. It was their mistake which lead to such a bad situation. The situation is under control now."