A mob in a coronavirus red zone in West Bengal’s Howrah district attacked the police on Tuesday after they asked them to follow lockdown orders and return home, ANI reported. Two policemen were injured in the attack.
The mob had gathered at a market in the city’s Tikiapara area. They attacked the police and threw stones at them when asked to disperse. The mob also damaged police vehicles. A Rapid Action Force team had to be deployed to control the situation.
“As soon as the police asked them [the mob] to return home, they attacked them with stones and beat them up,” an unidentified police official told PTI. “Two police vehicles were also damaged in the incident.” The two policemen injured in the attack were taken to a local hospital.
The police said they were taking strong action against everyone involved. “The perpetrators will be identified and brought to justice,” they tweeted. “No transgression of the law anywhere will be tolerated.”
Trinamool Congress leader and state minister Rajib Banerjee criticised the attack on policemen and said that strict action would be taken against the accused, according to PTI.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, hit out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after the incident. “West Bengal Police personnel attacked by stone-pelting mob for trying to enforce lockdown in Tikiapara, Howrah,” the party wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to Mamata Banerjee’ appeasement politics, her loyal voters are now attacking policemen, even while Bengal faces a tough fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”
There have been numerous instances of attacks on the police and frontline health workers in India. On Monday, residents of a village in Ambala city in Haryana clashed with the police and pelted stones at doctors after refusing to allow the cremation of a Covid-19 patient. A day before that, a police team had been attacked by people violating lockdown orders in Mumbai. Several other incidents have been reported across states.
West Bengal has 697 coronavirus cases, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Twenty people in the state have died of Covid-19. On Friday, however, the state government linked 57 deaths to Covid-19, but said 39 of these were due to co-morbidities in patients.