Posted by Rajeesh on November 12, 2009
The Jhargram lathicharge. (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)
Nov. 11: Nearly 3,000 tribals launched a “surprise attack” on the subdivisional office in Jhargram town today and allegedly tried to set it on fire before police struck back with batons and tear gas.
Employees bolted doors and windows to save themselves when they realised that the protesters in the office compound were about to storm inside. Tens of people were banging on the closed gates when the police moved in.
West Midnapore superintendent Manoj Verma said the “mob led by Maoists” was carrying kerosene. “They were about to sprinkle it outside the office doors when the police arrived.”
A police officer underlined the “surprise” element in the strike, saying the mob entered the office premises peacefully but changed colour all of a sudden. “They suddenly began running towards the office building and all hell broke loose.”
He added that the protest leaders were aware that the office did not have police cover.
Verma said that had the police not reached the premises within three minutes, there could have been a catastrophe. The baton charge was backed up with 20 tear-gas shells. “Five people were picked up.”