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Odisha: Mob attacks cops, sets fire to police station over ‘custodial death’ of tribal man

A tribal man was detained over his suspected involvement in a theft case. He was found hanging with a bedsheet inside the police station.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2018 15:09 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Odisha,Custodial Death,Suicide
Locals in Sambalpur vandalised Ainthapali police station and set it on fire over the custodial death of a man accused of theft.(ANI/ Twitter)

An angry mob on Friday torched a police station in Sambalpur district of western Odisha, beat up policemen and set vehicles on fire after a tribal man, arrested in connection with a theft case, allegedly committed suicide while in police custodyon Thursday night.

Hundreds of local residents, including women wielding iron rods and sticks, stormed the Ainthapali police station and vandalised several vehicles. They also pelted stones at policemen before setting the police station on fire.

At least seven policemen have reportedly sustained injuries in the attack. Police had to resort to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control, officials said. Two policemen posted at the station have been suspended.

Officials said Sambalpur’s superintendent of police Sanjiv Arora will lead a three-member team to probe Munda’s death.

Angry mob outside the police station in Sambalpur district in Odisha. (ANI/Twitter)

The attack came after Abinash Munda of Bhalupali village, who was detained over his suspected involvement in a theft case, was found hanging inside the Ainthapalli police station, Arora said.

Munda’s family, however, alleged that he was killed by the policemen at the station. His father alleged that the policemen had promised to send his son back home after the interrogation.

Officials said Munda was picked up after a man named Ranjan Panda reported that several pieces of gold jewellery that his daughter received as a gift during her wedding were missing.

Panda said his family members locked all the gifts in a room at the venue when his daughter was getting married on February 6. The jewellery and other gift items reportedly went missing the same night.

Police picked up Munda after Panda lodged his complaint and found some of the missing jewellery from his house.

In May last year, a man in Sambalpur died under mysterious circumstances in police custody.

Abhaya Singh was picked up along with two others over suspicion of stealing mobiles and then let off. The police later charged him and others with smuggling cannabis after which he was again detained.

He died in a hospital a month later after he was reportedly subjected to police torture.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 13:28 IST