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15 Jul 2017

Raiganj rampage

KOUSIK SEN, TT, Raiganj, July 14: Around 20,000 adivasis who took out a procession to protest the molestation of tribal women went on the rampage here today, torching stalls and eateries at the bus station and ransacking vehicles.
On Sunday, two tribal women had been molested at the bus stand here by three men who were arrested on the same day. Later, it was found that the same men had detained and molested two minor adivasi girls also at the bus station.
Today, the tribals carrying axe, bows and arrows took out a rally, saying some more miscreants were involved in the molestation and they should be arrested immediately.
The march started from Siliguri More around 12noon and headed towards the bus stand. As the marchers were stopped by police, a section of them turned violent.
"They ransacked a traffic police post, and set afire stalls at the bus stand. The mob attacked eateries, the rest room where the women were molested and the district office of INTTUC nearby. The police were outnumbered and couldn't do anything," said a source.
Ahead of the march, buses had been shifted from the terminus as the operators had apprehended violence.
After the hour-long mayhem, the adivasis headed back to Siliguri More. They ransacked several cars and motorcycles parked on either side of the road. Most of the shops had downed shutters by then.
The marchers raised a blockade on NH34 at Siliguri More from 3.30pm to 6pm.
Traders accused police of failing to crack down on the mob and called for an indefinite shutdown from tomorrow. They held a demonstration before the Raiganj police station. The police had to lob teargas to disperse the traders.
Senior police officers refused comment. Ayesha Rani A, the district magistrate of North Dinajpur, said: "We are monitoring the situation. We will see whether traders can be paid compensation."

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