Police arrested a Bank Manager for allegedly shielding a ‘notorious’ stone-pelter and helping him to evade arrest in Barsoo area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday.
Sources told CNS that a police party from Khirbhavani police station headed by Station House Officer Mir Imtiyaz raided Jammu and Kashmir Bank Barsoo branch after they received inputs that a notorious stone-pelter Tariq Ahmed alias Tariq Suri a resident of Kurhama is present in the bank.
Eyewitnesses said that as the police tried to enter into bank, the accused in a bid to evade his arrest threatened to set the branch on fire in case police make an entry into the bank, the move according to bank staff scared the branch manager.
“Our Branch Manager wanted to protect the cash and property of the bank and he requested police to wait outside and get the accused arrested as soon he leaves the bank,” said an employee of the bank.
Eyewitnesses added that as the police party came out from the bank and waited outside to get the accused arrested, the accused reportedly jumped from the two storey building and managed to escape from the scene.
According to the bank staff, as the accused jumped from the building and fled from the spot, the police went on rampage and not only they thrashed the employees and customers mercilessly but also dragged the branch manager and advance manager out from the bank and flexed muscles on them.
“The policemen did not even spare female employees. They smashed the window panes and caused damage to the property of the bank,” said an employee Ghulam Hassan to CNS adding that, “we cannot prevent any person from entering into the bank. Anybody can enter into our bank. We deal with public and we don’t know the anecdotes of every customer.”
Police alleged that the bank manager provided Tariq Suri an opportunity to flee from the spot. “We could have easily arrested the accused without any disruption, but we retreated after the bank manager told us that the accused can damage the bank property and even can set the branch on fire.
“We do believe that bank manager played a key role in helping the accused fled from the spot,” said a police official.
Eyewitnesses said that as the accused fled from the spot, scores of stone-pelters appeared on the road and resorted to massive stone-pelting, leaving various policemen injured. The police fired tear-smoke shells and even fired some bullets in air to disperse the stone-pelters. A tipper driver alleged that he was beaten up by police without any provocation while passing through the road.
The stone-pleting in the area continued for hours while heavy contingent of police and Para-military troopers were deployed to restore peace in the area.
A police official said that the accused Tariq Suri resident of Kurhama Ganderbal is a notorious stone-pelter and is wanted in several cases of pelting and arson.
“The accused and his supporters are involved in attacks on vehicles at Srinagar-Leh highway and several FIRs have been registered against him in different police stations of the Ganderbal district. Last month, we raided his house when he was present there along with his friends all but 12 in number. The accused and his friends attacked police party that time that resulted in the injury of SHO Ganderbal and another Head Constable,” he said adding that the accused is the source of stone-pelting nuisance in the district.
SP Ganderbal Imtiyaz Ismayil Parrey said that a formal case has been registered against the Bank Manger for shielding the accused and helping him to evade the arrest.