A mob of about 200 people stormed a police station in the tribally predominate Gajapati region of Odisha on Tuesday morning and beat five police officers in protest at a man’s detention in a cannabis smuggling case, according to police.
According to district officials in Gajapati, protesters from 6 grampanchayats assembled outside Adava police station in Mohana block to voice their opposition to the arrest of Biswanath Bhuyan, who was taken into custody by authorities from Jharanpur village on Monday night.
Police frequently arrest people on cannabis cultivation-related crimes in Gajapati district, which is known as a hub for the activity.
Locals were outraged by the police action and first gathered outside the police station before breaking in and attacking the officers, claiming it was a fake case.
“They were unrelenting and went after us. They tore up case records, smashed laptop, desktop computer and furniture. We had to run for our lives,” said a police official, requesting anonymity.
The mob then moved onto the police station staff’s apartments inside the building with the intention of attacking the officers’ families. However, others convinced them to change their minds.
Later, officers from the neighbouring R Udaygiri and Mohana police stations showed up as reinforcement. The locals persisted in holding a dharna in front of the police station though to make their concerns heard.
In Malkangiri district, another hub of cannabis cultivation, an armed mob with connections to cannabis traffickers vandalised the Chitrakonda police station in June.