At least one person was killed as a mob fought a pitched battle with the men in uniform and attacked the Mehmoodabad police station in Sitapur district on Monday after a 19-year-old woman allegedly hanged herself at the same police station.
The family members of the man, identified as Nadeem, alleged that he was killed in police firing, but police claimed that he died when anti-social elements opened fire during the protest against the death of the woman at the police station.
The purported suicide by the woman came to light hours after a sugar mill employee prevented her from jumping into a canal earlier in the day, the police claimed. The woman’s brother, however, alleged that the policemen raped her and then hanged her to make it look like a suicide case.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav announced Rs 5 lakh compensation each to the family members of the woman as well as the next of kin of Nadeem. He ordered strict action against the culprits.
In all, a dozen police personnel and administrative officials were injured in the mob violence during which the vehicles parked on the police station premises were set afire. The superintendent of police, the additional superintendent of police, the additional district magistrate and the subdivisional magistrate were among those injured.
The police fired in the air, burst tear-gas shells and resorted to a lathi-charge to quell the violence. The pitched battle between the mob and the police caused panic in the area, compelling traders to close their shops and residents to rush home.
Giving details of the incident, inspector general of police (law and order) A Satish Ganesh said, “One Amar Singh, an employee in a sugar mill, prevented a woman from jumping into a canal between Parvatpur and Basanpur village on Monday. He took the woman to a police post nearby and handed her over to the police.”
It was on the woman’s request that the police then took her to Khetaura village where she said she wished to meet her maternal grandfather. But when the police failed to locate her kin, they brought her to Mehmoodabad police station. The woman told the cops that she wished to relieve herself. A constable Shivam escorted her to the toilet. When the woman did not come out of the toilet after 15 minutes, the police opened the door, which was locked from inside, and found the woman hanging from the ventilator inside the toilet.
The police then informed the woman’s family members about her death. Soon, a mob assembled at the police station and blamed the cops for the death.
Superintendent of police R Krishna said the woman had left home in a huff on Monday morning following a tiff with her family members.
But her father, who is a telephone exchange employee, said, “My daughter and her mother were asleep last night. But she (the daughter) was missing in the morning.”
While the police officers tried to convince the family members, some anti-social elements started pelting the police station with stones. A free-for-all followed.
The district magistrate and the SP rushed to the spot with extra police force. Inspector general of police (Lucknow zone) Zaki Ahmed was also camping in Mehmoodabad to monitor the situation. The IG (law and order) said a panel of doctors had been constituted for a post-mortem. A video clip of the incident would assist the police in identifying the anti-social elements who attacked the police station.