Villager killed, 17 cops hurt in Midnapore clash

A villager was killed and 17 policemen were critically injured after a clash broke out between them at Chunapara village in Bengal’s West Midnapore district on Thursday morning.

The villagers gheraoed the officer in charge of Sankrail police station, assaulted him and looted an AK-47 rifle. One villager was killed and eight injured in police firing.

According to a senior police official, a team of security personnel raided the village late Wednesday night after getting specific information about some PCAPA members and Maoists holding a secret meeting there.

The villagers put up stiff resistance after which the security forces had to beat a hasty retreat. Early Thursday morning, a large police contingent led by Uttam Debnath, OC of Sankrail police station, conducted an operation in the area and started raiding some houses.

“Immediately after our men raided three houses in the village, a large group of women gheraoed them and within minutes, a mob of thousands of villagers gathered at the spot,” said Manoj Verma, SP, West Midnapore.

“The villagers started pelting stones on our officers. They surrounded our OC and started assaulting him. They snatched his AK-47 rifle also.”

The police force opened fire, killing one villager and injuring eight others. “Seventeen of our personnel, including four lady constables, were critically injured. The OC is very critical and has been shifted to Kolkata. He received a severe head injury. The attack was pre-planned and the looted AK-47 is in the possession of Maoists,” said Verma. The police have arrested eight people in connection with the incident.

West Midnapore district Trinamool Congress president Pranab Basu claimed the victim was a Trinamool supporter. “He was shot dead and eight other party supporters were injured when the police indiscriminately fired at them. The Trinamool supporters had gone there to inquire into the incident.”

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