KALAIGAON, Feb 27 � In a tragic case of mistaken identity, 19 people were injured when villagers intercepted a group of people belonging to a religious minority community who were returning from a religious ceremony, at Udmari near Kalaigaon in the wee hours today.
According to information available, around 2 am today, residents of Udmari and other villages intercepted a mini van (AS-13-C/3682) carrying 26 people, who were returning from a Jalsa ceremony organised at Outala Besimari village. When the villagers signalled the vehicle to halt, the driver tried to speed away from the scene suspecting the villagers to be dacoits.
The villagers too suspected the people in the vehicle to be cattle thieves. It needs mention that miscreants have been stealing cattle in the nearby villages for a couple of months and trucks are used in stealing cattle. The villagers chased the vehicle and mercilessly beat up all the people on board, causing injury to 19, mostly youths. Four of the seriously injured were rushed to the GMCH in a critical condition.
The villagers even tried to beat the policemen who arrived on the scene, and set fire to the vehicle and two bikes.
Following the incident, more than 500 people led by AMSU leaders gheraoed the Kalaigaon Police Station at 10 am demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.
Deputy Commissioner Sadhana Hojai, ADC Dibakar Doley, ASP Udalguri DR Mili, SP Dr DV Sibaprasad and ADC Darrang Rajvi Hussain visited Kalaigaon and Udmari and talked to the agitators.
On the other hand, 5000 people led by AMSU leaders, blocked the MB Road indefinitely demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.
The Darrang SP told this correspondent that more than two hundred police and para military personnel have been deployed in the area for maintaining law and order. In the meantime, the Darrang administration has imposed Section 144 in several villages under Kalaigaon and Mangaldai police stations in and around Kalaigaon. The Darrang SP said more than 20 people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, Minister Basanta Das and MP Santias Kunjur arrived at Kalaigaon and talked to the AMSU and other agitators, following which the road blockade was withdrawn. But a 12-hour Udalguri and Darrang bandh has been called tomorrow.