The Batadrava Police Station in Nagaon district, Assam was attacked by a mob yesterday. State police chief Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said the criminals wanted to destroy case records related to a custodial death.
Three policemen were injured in the attack and 21 people have been taken into custody.
A day after the attack, bulldozers demolished the homes of at least three of the accused. The administration claims the homes were removed as part of an anti-encroachment drive. District police chief Leena Doley had told NDTV that video footage was used to identify people involved in the attack.
The mob alleged that the police killed a 39-year-old fish seller Safikul for not being able to bribe. The official said the mob attack was not an action-reaction incident. He added the police take this death very seriously. The officer in charge of the police station has been suspended while the investigation is carried out. "If there is any foul play at our end, we mean to find that and punish the guilty according to law. No two ways about it:
Mahanta said on a Twitter post the man was brought to the police station for public drinking. He was lying on a public road before the police brought him to the station and he was booked after a medical checkup. "He was released the next day and handed over to his wife". The DGP added that the victim complained of sickness after eating at home and was taken to two hospitals. "Unfortunately he was declared dead".
The police official wrote on Twitter that the mob was not grieving relatives of the dead but "bad characters with criminal records". It was a ferocious and organised attack staged to take the law into their own hands. He insisted that the attackers intended to burn the evidence stored at the station. Mahanta assured that the Assam Police will get to the bottom of this.
The Police Chief said they will find the people who think they can escape the Indian justice system by burning down police stations.
State Cabinet minister Pijush Hazarika also assured if a custodial death happened, it will be investigated. "But the act of a mob burning down the police station will not be tolerated." He added the government will take extreme action.