SAMBALPUR: A frenzied mob, protesting death of a tribal youth in police custody, went berserk and set Ainthapali police station on fire in the City on Friday morning. Seven police personnel including an SDPO were injured when the irate locals resorted to heavy stone pelting.Abinash Munda (19), a tribal of Bhalupali area under Ainthapali police limits, was detained by police following a complaint of theft in a Kalyan Mandap on Thursday. However, he was found hanging in the bathroom of the police station late Thursday night.
Though police claimed that Abinash committed suicide, the residents of Bhalupali alleged that he was beaten to death by the police. As the news spread, a large crowd first blocked Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway-10 in front of the police station. Suddenly, they barged into the police station and ransacked it before setting fire to everything they could lay their hands on.
On being informed, Sambalpur SP Sanjeev Arora and additional police force rushed to the spot and dispersed the agitators. But the mob started pelting stones at the police, injuring at least seven police personnel including Sub Divisional Police Officer, Hirakud, Abakash Routray. Inspector General of Police (Northern Range), Susant Kumar Nath and Sambalpur Collector Samarth Verma also rushed to the spot to take the stock of the situation. As more and more locals joined the mob, the stone pelting intensified and continued for more than one hour.
The enraged locals also set the seized vehicles kept on the premises of the police station on fire. As the situation went out of control, Odisha Swift Action Force (OSAF) from Rourkela reached the spot and fired tear gas shells. They also resorted to lathi charge to disperse the mob.Nath said the situation was under control and an investigation would be conducted into the incident. The HRPC will conduct the inquiry and action will be taken against the officials found responsible, he added.
Meanwhile, Director General of Police Dr RP Sharma has suspended Ainthapali Inspector-in-Charge Srimanta Barik, Diary Charge Officer Harishchandra Gadnayak and a constable, Nirupama Choudhury for dereliction of duty. Additional DG of HRPC Mahendra Pratap informed that a three-member team has already proceeded to Sambalpur to investigate into the manner. The Odisha Human Rights Commission has also sought a report within three weeks from the HRPC.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the matter and announced an ex gratia compensation of `5 lakh for the victim’s family.