KEONJHAR: Five RPF personnel of Banspani railway station were grievously injured and railway property vandalised as hundreds of villagers went on a rampage on Wednesday after a 27-year-old youth was found dead on the station premises.
Laxman Patra, the victim from Bhanja Hutting, was beaten to death by the railway personnel, alleged the enraged family members and villagers. Train operations came to a grinding halt at the station for over six hours due to the melee. The injured jawans were rushed to Joda TISCO hospital and two have been shifted to Tata hospital, Jamshedpur after their condition deteriorated.
Keonjhar Police has now taken up the investigation into allegations of custodial torture by RPF, SP Mitrabhanu Mahapatra said. According to sources, Laxman had gone to the railway station but did not return home. Later, some villagers found him lying dead on the railway station premises. Suspecting that the RPF personnel deployed there assaulted him leading to his death, the mob comprising villagers of Bhanja and Koila huttings turned violent and assaulted the station master, ransacked his cabin and set fire to volumes of valuable documents.
The victim’s elder brother Govind Patra said, his sibling had gone to the railway siding where he was engaged in packing work on Tuesday. “When I reached the station, I was told, he is dead. If Laxman had done anything wrong, he should have been arrested, not killed,” he told mediapersons.
Laxman was apparently in RPF custody on Tuesday night after he was picked up on suspicion of wrong-doing. Later, his lifeless body was found on the station premises which triggered angry reactions from the villagers when they were informed about it. The villagers attacked the nearby RPF camp with lathis and iron rods injuring many.
The incident led to disruption of trains from 8 pm to 1 am. However, technical operations were partially restored around 2 am after officials from Chakradharpur Railway Division (CRD) and DIG-RPF, Kolkata rushed to the spot.
“An inquiry has begun and facts leading to the violence will come out,” said Manoj Kumar Pathak, senior official, CRD. Some valuable documents and other instruments inside the station have been destroyed by the villagers, he added.