22 policemen and several villagers injured in clashes

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Balasore, Mar 1 (UNI) At least 22 policemen and several civilians were injured in a clash between them at Naharpatna village in Orissa's Balasore district following a rape and murder of a minor girl today.

Police said the trouble sparked when police refused to handover the accused killer, Karunakar Das, a plumber by profession, to the villagers, who wanted to lynch the alleged rapist.

The mob of about 3000 then attacked the police, and ransacked the outpost at Haladipada of Sardar Police station. Several police vehicles were damaged as the mob pelted stones.

The movement of traffic on the NH 5 and NH 60 was disrupted for hours together due to the clashes between the police and the villagers.

As the situation was heading beyond control, the police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathi charge to quell the mob.

Tension prevailed in the area and policemen were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

Balasore Superintedent of police Yashwant Jetwa said the situation was now under control and security personnel were deployed in strength to prevent any untoward incident.

As per the reports the victim, a seven-year-old girl, daughter of one Manoranjan Pradhan, had gone to watch an open pandal opera (Yatra) last night alongwith her brother. Karunakar allegedly offered her chocolates and lured her to a secluded place. After a frantic search her family members detected the girl lying dead in a field by the side of the NH close to her house this morning.

The relatives of the girl suspected Karunakar, who has a couple of criminal cases pending against him in the court, to be behind the ghastly incident.

After the news spread the angry villagers tried to lynch him.

However, police reached the spot and arrested the accused and later forwarded him to the court.

But the irate villagers demanded the police to handover the accused to them and attacked police. The villagers ransacked the Haladipada outpost.

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