At least 11 people were reportedly killed and 20 others injured when a high tension electric cable fell on a mob of protesters after it was hit by the police at Pengaree in Assam's Tinsukia district Monday. The mob was demanding the police to hand over to them five murder accused.
The incident happened when the agitators pelted stones at the Pangeree Police Station, breaking glass panes, Press Trust of India reported. The mob had machetes and sticks, the police said. In response to the attack, the police opened fire in the air and the bullets hit the electric wire.
While nine people were killed on the spot when the cable fell, one died at Tinsukia Civil Hospital and another on the way to Assam Medical College Hospital in Dibrugarh district.
"A group of people from neighbouring villages laid siege to the police station on Monday morning. The mob was demanding the police to hand over to them five murder accused, who were arrested over a recent murder case," Indo-Asian News Service quoted a police official as saying.
"The mob soon became unruly and started pelting stones at the police station. We started a lathi-charge but it failed to disperse the crowd," the official said.
"Police then fired in the air to disperse the crowd. Unfortunately, the bullets hit the high-voltage electric wire overhead and it fell down on the agitators, killing nine of them on the spot and injuring over a dozen others," he added.
Assam BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal announced a compensation of Rs. one lakh each to the deceased's families and Rs. 25,000 to the injured people.
The protests erupted after a man, his daughter-in-law and son were kidnapped three days ago and bodies of the former two were found later, according to PTI. The son managed to escape. The protesters wanted to punish the five men arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder.
The incident happened on the day when the second phase of the Assembly elections were underway in Assam.