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All quiet in Kotkhai: Probe initiated into torching of police station; cops recall horror

Mohit Bamta, a Kotkhai resident, summed up the sentiments of many when he said, “I don’t support any damage to public property but I also believe that innocents should not be targeted.”

india Updated: Jul 21, 2017 11:09 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Kotkhai,police station torched,gangrape murder
“I had nothing to guard, we had no orders from top about what to do. The only thing we did was to remain calm,” said a policeman outside the police station.(HT Photo)

A day after an angry mob torched the local police station after vandalising it, complete calm prevailed in the apple heartland even as the district administration sent more reinforcements to the town, and police started an inquiry into yesterday’s incident of arson.

All business establishments in the town remained closed on a bandh call given by the Kotkhai Beopar Mandal. Suresh Chauhan, president of the beopar mandal, said all shopkeepers had decided to keep their shops closed today. There were no protests though the community was abuzz about the death of a Nepalese accused in the Kotkhai murder case.

Mohit Bamta, a Kotkhai resident, summed up the sentiments of many when he said, “I don’t support any damage to public property but I also believe that innocents should not be targeted.”

Meanwhile, cops present on duty at the police station recalled the horror of facing an angry mob. “It was about 12 noon that a mob protesting against the death of Suraj attacked the police station,” recounted a cop of 6th battalion guarding the police station. “What could we do? Half of us were without helmets when the mob resorted to stone pelting,” said an inspector-level officer who sustained head injuries during the protest.

“I had nothing to guard, we had no orders from top about what to do. The only thing we did was to remain calm,” said a policeman outside the police station. The angry mob led by local youths entered the police station and vandalised the rooms.

“They burnt down all the records, computers and furniture. There is nothing left here,” said Ramesh, a cop.

“All I can remember is that a stout youth urged the crowd to set the police station on fire,” he recounts. There are nearly 150 policemen guarding the otherwise sleepy hill town. “I thought of firing in self defence when the mob attacked but I feared that the crowd would become even more violent, so I restrained myself,” said a woman inspector.

Superintendent of Police (Crime) Ashok Sharma and SP Railway and Traffic, Pankaj Sharma, today visited the town and launched an inquiry into the burning of police station and the three police vehicles.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 11:09 IST