Andhra government embarrassed by cop’s false alarmDecember 18th, 2008 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS
Hyderabad, Dec 18 (IANS) A false alarm of a Maoist attack on a police station by a policeman on guard duty, whose weapon went off by accident, has left the Andhra Pradesh government and senior police officials red-faced.Police officials and home minister K. Jana Reddy had said Wednesday that Maoists attacked the Mellacheruvu police station and the adjoining police quarters in Nalgonda district late Tuesday night.
District police chief Vijay Kumar said a constable was injured in the attack carried out by 10 to 12 Maoist guerrillas. The “exchange of fire” lasted for 40 minutes.
The minister, who had even praised the police personnel for their ‘bravery’ in repulsing the attack, however had to call a news conference late Wednesday to deny any Maoist attack on the police station after senior police officials inspected the area and found no evidence of the attack.
Constable Sheikh Kareem, who was on guard duty, allegedly raised an alarm after his self-loading rifle went off accidentally. About a dozen policemen present in the station started firing and this continued for 40 minutes.
Additional police reinforcements from nearby police stations and the top officials rushed to the ‘besieged’ police station early Wednesday.
After declaring that activists of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) attacked the police station, the officials began an inquiry but found no traces of an attack such as bullet marks on the building, empty cartridges and party pamphlets.
While an inquiry has been ordered against the sentry for raising a false alarm, perhaps to escape punishment for mishandling his weapon, the home minister has also taken serious note of the role of the Nalgonda police chief and did not rule out action against him for misleading him on the incident.
The home minister, however, praised the ‘alertness’ of policemen present in the station and pointed out that the police station had been attacked by the Maoists twice in the past.