Siliguri: Fifty people, including 23 policemen, were injured here early Thursday in clashes with demonstrators who blockaded a national highway to protest a school teacher`s custodial death in Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh.
Carrying Ganesh Chowdhury`s body, demonstrators blockaded the National Highway 31 at Bihar More under Bagdogra police station early Thursday. They fought a pitched battle with police who tried to remove the blockade around 2 am. The police resorted to baton-charge, and lobbed tear gas shells.
Siliguri Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Shyam Singh said the mob damaged a police vehicle, two buses and a truck besides pelting stones at the security forces.
The teacher`s body had not been cremated till Thursday afternoon.
"We came under attack when we tried to remove the road blockade. The mob threw stones and burnt car tyres and damaged the vehicles. Ten of the 23 injured police personnel have been hospitalised. We lobbed 10 to 12 tear-gas shells after a baton-charge failed to control the situation," said Shyam Singh. Twenty-seven protesters also sustained injuries.
Five of the demonstrators have been arrested and police are on the look out for others involved in the violence. Additional police forces have been sent to the troubled spot, and senior police officers are camping at the site, the official said.
Simultaneously, the police are also in touch with police in Azamgarh to pursue the demonstrators` demand for the unconditional release of Chowdhury`s father and brother now under arrest there.
Trouble broke out for the second time Wednesday night when Choudhury`s body arrived at his Bagdogra residence after a fresh autopsy performed by West Bengal Police.
Claiming Chowdhury was killed in judicial custody in Uttar Pradesh, the demonstrators demanded a proper investigation into his death and the registering of a murder case. They also demanded "exemplary punishment" to those responsible for his death.
On Tuesday, a few hundred people demonstrated with Chowdhury`s body outside the Bagdogra police station, demanding a second post-mortem examination.
Uttar Pradesh Police earlier conducted an autopsy, which his family members said was not satisfactory.
"Following an appeal from Chowdhury`s family, the Darjeeling district magistrate ordered a second post-mortem examination which was done during the day (Wednesday) at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH)," Siliguri sub-divisional officer Deepap Priya P said.
Chowdhury was employed as a teacher at a private school in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh.
He died in judicial custody in Azamgarh after his arrest in a kidnapping case.
His family members claimed he was in a relationship with the school owner`s daughter. As the girl`s father was against the marriage, the couple eloped.
Following a police complaint, the teacher`s father and brother were arrested.
When Chowdhury came to know of this, he surrendered to police and was sent to judicial custody, said his brother-in-law Lal Babu Kamath.
Uttar Pradesh Police claimed he fell ill in custody and died in a hospital Monday, according to the family.