Accused arrested and suspended

A day after large-scale mob fury over alleged rape of a woman by two police constables in a residential quarter of a police station, tension continued in Chhoti Sadri town of Rajasthan's Pratapgarh district on Tuesday.

No fresh violence was reported from the tribal-dominated town as a large contingent of police, including the Mewar Armed Corps, patrolled the area. Senior police officers are also camping in the town.

The two accused, Pawan Kumar and Tej Singh, both constables of the Chhoti Sadri police station who had allegedly brought the victim forcibly to the police station premises on Sunday night after picking her up from her residence along with her father, have been arrested and suspended.

They will be produced in court on Wednesday. Cases have been registered against them on the basis of a complaint by the victim's father. The victim belongs to the pastoral Gayari community.

Large-scale violence was witnessed in the area on Monday evening with a 200-strong mob surrounding the police station once news of the alleged rape spread. The police had to resort to tear-gas and firing in the air to disperse the mob which set fire to a police post at Gandhi Chowk and torched vehicles of the Assistant SP, Station House Officer and tehsildar. They also indulged in heavy stone-throwing. The arson continued till late at night. The police fired two rounds in the air.

Congress worried

The ruling Congress is understandably worried about the developments as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is on a two-day tour of south Rajasthan districts along with Union Minister C.P. Joshi, is scheduled to visit Pratapgarh on Wednesday. Moreover, the affected area is a stronghold of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which has called for a bandh in Pratapgarh district on Wednesday.

Additional Director-General of Police Navdeep Singh, talking toThe Hindu on phone from Chhoti Sadri, said the situation was under control though the authorities were keeping a vigil over the chances of anti-social elements making use of the situation to foment further trouble. “Quick action against the accused police personnel has seemingly helped to assuage the feelings,” he noted.

Seventeen persons have been arrested in connection with the arson and rioting. Two cases have been registered against them.