Bhopal: Enforcing a lockdown during an ongoing Ram Leela event left three policemen injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district on Wednesday night after a mob attacked them.
The district police said that a Ram Leela event was organised on the night of Ram Navami in the village of Bardiyarathor in Alot Tehsil. The organisers had hired a DJ and nearly 300 people had gathered for the event.
After having received a tip off, when sub-inspector R.C. Gaur and two constables reached the village at 1 am to enforce lockdown protocols imposed by the district collector after a rise in cases of COVID-19, the villagers refused to relent and a squabble ensued. They allegedly turned off the lights in the village and attacked the cops with sticks and pelted stones at them. The police managed to flee and saved their lives, a police report mentioned.
When the cops reported the attack at the nearest police station in Alot, the town inspector Deepak Shezwar arrived with a force and rescued them.
“Villagers attacked the policemen when they had gone to enforce the lockdown during an ongoing Ram Leela event. They were attacked with sticks and stones were pelted at them. The villagers also pelted stones at the Dial 100 vehicle,” said Alot Police Station in-charge Shezwar.
An FIR has been registered against 35 villagers under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 15 of them have been arrested, he added.
However, local villagers alleged that police attacked homes of innocent villagers when they returned after the incident had taken place. Udayram Prajapat, a villager, claimed that some police personnel attacked a woman when they came to enforce a lockdown and in retaliation the villagers attacked the cops.
Another resident, Samarth Sharma, alleged that police attacked homes of innocent villagers when they returned with additional force nearly an hour after the incident. “They barged into nearly half a dozen homes and broke a TV, cooler, windows and other things,” Sharma alleged, adding that the police also broke the windows of vehicles owned by the villagers.
The police refuted the allegation and termed it baseless.
When contracted, Ratlam SP Gaurav Tiwari said: “Three cops were attacked and stones were pelted at police vehicles when they had gone to enforce a lockdown in Bardiyarathore village of Alot Police station. An FIR has been registered and a probe is on.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown last year there were several instances of clashs between the police, locals and medical staff in various districts of Madhya Pradesh, including Indore. The stringent National Security Act was also invoked against many.