KOLKATA: A police constable in his late 20s, posted at the office of the office of the deputy high commissioner, opened fire indiscriminately from his rifle on Friday afternoon killing a woman riding pillion.
Later, he died by suicide by shooting himself. What prompted the policeman identified as Chodup Lepcha to open fire is yet to be ascertained.
Eyewitnesses said the cop fired at least 15 to 17 rounds of bullets. "It seems Lepcha who shot himself on his neck was suffering from depression. It is yet to be ascertained whether his act was because of his mental condition. We will speak to his family members, colleagues and friends to find out," said additional commissioner of police Praveen Tripathi.
"The physiotherapist identified as Rima Singh was shot on her head when she was travelling through the area riding the pillion of a motorcycle. The woman in her thirties was a resident of Howrah’s Dasnagar. None of the local residents dared to rescue her on seeing the gun-toting constable who kept firing even after the woman slumped on the road," said a police officer quoting the statements given by eyewitnesses.
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The scared bike rider, who is also said to be injured in the firing, managed to speed away.
The police said it was Lepcha’s first day of duty at the deputy high commissioner’s office in Park Circus after he returned from leave. He was the constable of the Kolkata armed police’s fifth battalion.
"He was posted at the outpost in front of the officer of the deputy high commissioner. It was around 2.30 pm, we saw him walking along the road with the rifle. Suddenly, he started firing indiscriminately. A few children were playing on the road. initially, they thought it was sounds of fire crackers. But when they saw the policeman firing indiscriminately, they ran away. I too got scared and fled,’" said Danish Khan, a local resident.
Empty shells of cartridges were found lying on the road after the incident.
Khan said the firing could have claimed more lives. "Today was the day for Friday’s namaaz and most of the people went to mosques for offering prayer. The road, where the incident took place, would otherwise be very crowded," he said.