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Police vs police in Patna over dengue death of woman constable, several injured

The protesting constables of Patna police said their colleague, a woman constable, had applied for medical leave but the sergeant major apparently ignored her request. On Thursday night when her condition deteriorated, she was rushed to a private hospital where she died.

patna Updated: Nov 03, 2018 14:37 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
patna,patna police lines,protests by constables at Patna
The office at Police Lines in Patna was damaged by newly-recruited constables who went on a rampage following the death of their colleague, a woman, who was reportedly denied medical leave and later died at a private hospital. (HT Photo )

Patna’s rural superintendent of police (SP), a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), a couple of other officers, scribes and commoners were among two dozen people were injured by a rampaging mob comprising newly recruited police constables - both men and women - protesting apathy by their sergeant major and lack of treatment to a woman constable who died of dengue at the new police line premises in the wee hours.

Savita Kumari Pathak, 22, a resident of Siwan, who was inducted into the police force few months back and sent recently along with 900 other colleagues for training at the police line in Patna, was reportedly suffering from dengue for last four days. The protesting constables said she had applied for medical leave but the sergeant major, Md Mashluddin apparently ignored her request. On Thursday night when her condition deteriorated, she was rushed to a private hospital where she breathed her last.

Agitated by her death, the other constables, still undergoing mandatory police training, lost their cool , attacked officers on the campus, damaging their homes, vehicles and other properties. Media personnel and onlookers, who had assembled at the spot, also faced the ire of the agitated constables.

The sergeant major’s house inside the campus was the first to come under their attack. Women constables barged into the house, damaged furniture and other articles and thrashed their immediate superior forcing him to flee. The officer’s family members said the agitating constables also beat them up.

Eye witnesses said at least 40 police vehicles, besides furniture, CCTV cameras, and television sets were damaged. Meanwhile, on hearing about the ruckus, when rural SP, Anand Kumar and city SP, D Amarkesh reached the police lines, the constables attacked their vehicles with lathis and iron rods forcing the duo to run for their lives.

Agitated by a woman constable’s death, her colleagues , still undergoing mandatory police training, lost their cool and attacked officers on the campus, damaging their homes, vehicles and other properties. (Santosh Kumar / HT Photo )

The agitators followed the officers to a roadside temple and began damaging its CCTV cameras when their bodyguards and locals retaliated. The bodyguards of the two officers fired few rounds in the air and dispersed the protestors before they took them away to safety. By then the rural SP had suffered injuries.

Soon the conflict spread on to the street at Lodipur area as the constables and locals fought with lathis and threw bricks at each other.

The situation was brought under control when senior SP Manu Maharaaj arrived with jawans of the Bihar Gurkha Battallion, a combat force generally pressed into service during extreme crisis and emergency situations.

The damaged car of a senior police officer at Police Lines, Patna. (HT Photo)

The injured officers were sent to hospital for treatment. So far, no arrests have been made but senior officials said that the protestors would face stringent disciplinary actions. “Death of the constable and the unruly incidents thereafter is highly condemnable. We will properly probe and fix the issues,” he said, adding, kin of the deceased constable would get a government job on compassionate ground besides compensation cheque for Rs 11 lakh.

The violent protests by the constables have caused a major embarrassment to the Bihar Police and the state government, stirring a fresh political debate. Opposition was quick to react to it declaring that a state of emergency was prevailing in Bihar with lawlessness at its peak. Congress and RJD leaders declared it as failure of chief minister Nitish Kumar, who holds the charge of home ministry.

The chief minister has, meanwhile, ordered a probe and sought a detailed report on the incident within three days. Bihar police spokesperson S K Singhal said that zonal IG, NH Khan would carry out the probe.

First Published: Nov 03, 2018 14:36 IST