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Midnapore: As many as 15 policemen, including two in the rank of inspector, were today assaulted by a group of BJP workers who had got stuck in the traffic snarl at Kharagpur on the way to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Midnapore today noon.

One of the policemen ~ an officer whose identity is yet to be ascertained ~ was chased, thrashed to the ground and then served with kicks and punches even as he kept begging to the BJP cadres to let him go.

The incident took place around 12.45 pm near Kharagpur Chowringhee, where meets three national highways ~ NH-16, NH-14, and NH-49.

Due to the rush of vehicles for the PM’s rally, police were regulating the movements of vehicles from all directions since morning by putting up iron barricades at Chowringhee. Owing to this, the vehicles were moving at a slower speed than on a regular day.

Around 12.30 pm, police briefly stopped the movement of vehicles altogether from the NH-16 end as there was an excessive rush towards the PM’s meeting venue at Midnapore. This led to several vehicles, including some 10 carrying BJP supporters from Mohanpur, get stranded.

After waiting for a while, the BJP workers got restless and got down from the vehicles. During this, they came across a team of civic volunteers assigned with the task of assisting police in manning the traffic. The BJP workers soon started thrashing the civic volunteers alleging that police had stopped the vehicles to bar them from attending PM’s rally.

The civic volunteers were served with punches and kicks and this made the civic volunteers flee from the spot. They reported the matter to senior policemen deployed a little away. A police officer came with a few constables to enquire but he became a target of the BJP cadres instead.

With his companions vanishing in the thin air sensing trouble, the officer was rounded up by the BJP cadres. As he stumbled on the road, the BJP cadres went on kicking and serving him punches. Some in the BJP group tried to stop their fellow party-men but to no avail.

The assault went on until a larger group of policemen arrived and rescued the officer from the violent BJP workers. During this, the rescuer police team too came under the assault.

According to Kharagpur Local police station O-C Biswaranjan Banerjee, altogether 15 policemen including him, and two civic volunteers were assaulted by the BJP cadres. “We had to go to the hospital and receive first-aid. We are trying to identify the assaulters,” he said.

Among the officers injured in the assault are ~ O-C traffic Kharagpur Akhilesh Singh, sub-inspector Abhijit Samaddar of Kharagpur Local PS, and sub-inspector Tapan Bhunia of Pingla PS.

West Midnapore superintendent of police Alok Rajoria has said that police will take legal action against those who have assaulted the policemen. None has been arrested as yet.