It was a pandemonium at Sadaipur in Birbhum on Thursday as several hundreds of local villagers blocked the busy National Highway-60, locked the officer-in-charge of the local police station in a club for over six hours and torched police vehicles after gold ornaments of Goddess Kali were found stolen from two temples in Chinpai here on Thursday morning.
Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Subimoy Pal rushed to the spot with huge force to rescue the detained officer-in-charge and had to announce in a public address system that CID help will also be sought for in the investigations after which the blockade was withdrawn. The villagers have given an ultimatum to the police to nab the criminals within 24 hours, otherwise “we will start bigger agitations”.
The local people narrated the incidents leading to the row on Thursday. They said that in Chinpai Siddheswari temple, a cultural function was going on after the Kali Puja. The officer-in-charge of Sadaipur police station, SI Abdul Rob Khan, went to the site to urge the organisers to stop the function after 10 p.m., which the organisers obeyed. The local villagers said that there were ornaments on the idol of Goddess Kali lodged inside the temple and urged Khan to provide security during the night.
The police officer allegedly threatened to take stern actions against the organisers. He directed to switch off all the lights and posted two civic police volunteers at the site on the Kali Puja night, but no guards were provided yesterday despite repeated requests. When the head priest went to the temple in the morning on Thursday, he found that the collapsible gates to be open and gold jewellery of about 80 tollahs and silver jewellery of about 12 kilogram besides Rs 60,000 in cash robe missing from the two temples.
The temple committee called up the police immediately. The officer-in-charge reached the spot and the local residents forcibly took him inside a local club and locked the door from outside. His vehicle was vandalised and then torched. A group of women blocked the National Highway-60 in protest.
Meanwhile, ASP Subimol Pal reached the site. He urged the people to restore peace. Later, he said over microphone that the officer-in-charge has been suspended and closed to Birbhum police lines. “A special investigation team will be set up with efficient police officers to crack the case and if required, the help of state CID will also be sought,” he said to pacify the mob demand.
When huge police force had been trying to rescue the held up officer, local people also tried to snatch him and manhandle him. The local residents set up a deadline of 24 hours for the police to arrest the culprits. Till the time of reporting, police, however, failed to make any arrest.