ANDHRA PRADESH

A nerve-jangling experience for Amrabad police

In rapt attention: The Home Minister, K. Jana Reddy, and DGP, Swaranjit Sen, listening to the Mahboobnagar SP, Vikram Singh Mann, at the Mannanur armed police out-post which was attacked by Maoists on Friday night. — Photo: Satish H.

In rapt attention: The Home Minister, K. Jana Reddy, and DGP, Swaranjit Sen, listening to the Mahboobnagar SP, Vikram Singh Mann, at the Mannanur armed police out-post which was attacked by Maoists on Friday night. — Photo: Satish H.  

Special Correspondent

AMRABAD (MAHABUBNAGAR DT.): The police were at their wits' end when a poclain went up and down the road opposite the police station here while exchanging fire with the Maoists on Friday night.

In the midst of a heavy exchange of fire across the road, the poclain with the headlight on headed towards the station from the village. It passed the station as bullets rained on it. Strangely, the poclain again travelled in the reverse direction, this time driving straight towards the entrance of the police station. Apparently, its driver wanted to take shelter in the station for safety but the policemen shouted at him. This forced him to go back to the village.

On the edge

The Amrabad Police Inspector, Penchalaiah, told The Hindu that they initially believed the poclain to be carrying a separate batch of Maoists who were out to storm the station. Their suspicion grew when he came back in the reverse direction after gaining safe passage through the firing zone.

They could make out that he was a panicked driver when he drove away on being shouted. He could not be traced later.

To add to the confusion of the police, a large group which left a cinema hall as the movie was wound up following a mine explosion by the Maoists also arrived in front of the police station shortly after the firing ceased from both sides. The police believed the crowd to be Maoists trying to attack the station. The crowd was ordered to surrender and squat on the road. They were let off on Saturday morning.

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