ONE PERSON was killed when the police opened fire after a mob attacked the Harai police station in Chhindwara district on Sunday.
At least half a dozen people, including some policemen, were injured. Around 800 people, mostly tribals, ran amok after the death of a Harai janpad panchayat member who was allegedly run over by a liquor contractor’s jeep at Basuria village in Chhindwara district.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were clamped in Harai, some 80 km from the Chhindwara district headquarters.
The mob, after torching the vehicle that ran over janpad panchayat member Veersingh Thakur, gheraoed the Harai police station under the Amarwada assembly segment, alleging the police were keeping the driver in their custody and protecting him. They demanded that the driver be handed over to them so that they could avenge the death of Thakur.
When they did not get the driver, the mob torched a jeep and two motorbikes; they threw stones at the police station, damaging police property. To disperse the mob, the police opened fire killing Sunny (40), a resident of Chatakala. The mob rained stones on the police station after the firing and in the stampede-like situation six to seven people, including policemen, were injured.
Chhindwara SP R K Sivhare refuted reports that some people were injured in the firing. He said the police opened fire in self-defence after the mob tried to enter the police station.
Shivhare said the mob first looted a wine shop before rushing to the police station. He denied that the jeep driver was in the police custody, adding a case was registered against 700 to 800 people.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident, Chhindwara Collector Arun Pandey told Hindustan Times. He said the State Government has announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh each to the next to the kin of the two deceased. One person injured along with the deceased Janpad member would get a help of Rs 10,000, the collector said, adding the situation was under control.