HANUMANNAGAR (SAPTARI), Sept 13: In a shocking display of anger, a group of locals set fire to two police sentry posts in Hanumannagar VDC, Saptari district Thursday, ruthlessly thrashed a police officer and forcibly freed three youths who were arrested for alleged public offense.
The enraged locals set two sentry posts and a waiting-room on fire before breaking into the Area Police Office (APO).
They also beat up Sub-inspector Manoj Kumar Raut with bamboos before forcibly freeing three of their friends who were arrested earlier for obstructing road vehicles.
The locals had obstructed the road from around 8 a.m., demanding that all micro-buses operating along the Rajbiraj-Biratnagar route via Hanumannagar pick up passengers there also. A police team led by Sub-inspector Raut had allegedly used force to clear the road and disperse the agitating locals.
Police had arrested Jitendra Sah, Anuj Mishra and Arabinda Das, all from Hanumannagar VDC, for putting up barricades on the road. All three were freed from police custody by the irate locals.
The locals, who were enraged at the police using force, overran Hanumannagar APO before shutting down all local shops to demand Raut´s immediate transfer.
Hanumannagar bazaar remained tense until afternoon due to the shutdown.
The locals staged demonstrations and chanted slogans against what they dubbed as police excesses.
“We took to the street as the micro-bus operators neglected us,” said Hemanta Kumar Jain, one enraged local. “We had categorically told the police that we would withdraw our protest action once a representative of the micro-bus operators association comes for talks with us. But the police used their batons on us indiscriminately.”
Meanwhile, Sub-inspector Raut refuted the allegation that he instructed his subordinates to be brutal with their batons. “We did not resort to baton use,” he said. “We just took three of the protestors under control to avoid any untoward incident.”
The situation returned to normal by evening after DSP Govinda Adhikari agreed to hold a tripartite meeting between locals, a representative of the micro-bus operators and the local administration to iron out the issue once and for all.