MLA's 'dharna' at police station turns violent, cops lob gas

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Panaji, Feb 19 (UNI) The sit-in 'dharna' in front of the Panjim police station by Taleigao legislator and former Goa minister Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate and his followers turned violent tonight, with police resorting to lathicharge and bursting of teargas shells here.

The North Goa district police Superintendent Neraj Kumar Thakur told UNI that police repulsed violence and brought the situation under control after the mob petted stones and attempting to storm the police station.

Six of the cops, including one lady constable, were injured in the melee and were rushed to GMC Hospital. One of the police motorcycles was also burnt by the mob. Several people injured in the lathicharge were being taken into custody, he said.

The MLA, who went back to his Taleigao residence, said the police chased his followers and damaged several of their vehicles at his house after the incidence at the police station.

Mr Monserrate, along with his followers (including women), staged a 'dharna' in front of the police station demanding suspension of an inspector for allegedly encouraging 'goondaism'.

His followers blocked the road in front of the station house and put up huge painted banners displaying ''Suspend Panjim police Inspector'', ''Police hand in glove with goons,'' ''We do not want 'goondaism' in Taleigao.'' Earlier, he refused to meet Mr Thakur in the police station for a dialogue in presence of the city Mayor Tony Rodrigues, saying he would not budge till the inspector was suspended.

Mr Monserrate, who played a crucial role in toppling BJP government in 2004 and the Digambar Kamat government last year, said he wanted nothing short of ''immediate action'' against police inspector Sudesh Naik.

Known as a big realtor, Mr Monserrate also led an agitation against the proposed Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat at Dona paula Plateau in Taleigao and tried to dislodge Chief Minister last month.

He said PI Naik had handed over his young supporter, Royan Sodhinho, to members of a known rival goon who abducted the boy from his house and allegedly thrashed him this evening in his constituency.

As soon as the news about Royan being beaten up spread, Taleigao observed bandh and some people started burning the old tyres on the roads in protest.

When Royan wriggled out of the goons's hands and asked the chasing cops for help, the police allegedly handed him back to the assailants who thrashed him further.

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