Jorethang, South Sikkim: Two days after a clash between stall owners and security personnel left several injured on the concluding day of Maghey Mela in Jorethang in South Sikkim district on Thursday evening, a blame game has now erupted over the incident.
While stall owners alleged police brutality and misuse of power by security personnel, the latter in turn said that the flare-up happened over the closing time of shops and bars.
As per police sources, the closing time for the festival was 9 pm. However, after a relaxation of one hour and issuance of warning, the owners did not close the shops and bars on Thursday evening.
When the police intervened, they started misbehaving which led to the flare-up, sources said.
When queried whether magisterial orders were issued before lathicharge, the police said that the situation was out of hand with people attacking the local police station. This led the police to use their discretionary powers, sources said.
A day after the incident, an FIR was filed against the police and IRBn personnel stationed at the Jorethang police station for misuse of power.
The incident reportedly happened at some traditional stalls serving food and drinks. As per eyewitnesses, the police reportedly used excessive force by beating up staffers, owners and customers present at the stalls.
As per Rohan Rai, another eyewitness, the security personnel even dragged the customers and staffers out from the stalls before mercilessly beating them. He also stated that huge stones were pelted by the police at their stalls, with some of them even resorting to firing and tear gas shells.
Meanwhile, Jorethang police station SHO Mahendra Pradhan did not come on the record to throw light on the incident. He, however, said that that the spokesperson of the police headquaters in Gangtok would brief the media about the incident.
However, despite repeated attempts, the spokesperson, Gyanendra Verma, was not reachable.