Unidentified men damaged an ATM booth – breaking open the door and destroying a CCTV camera inside – in Howrah on Sunday night.
This is the second such incident in the area since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in a bid to curb corruption.
Cash-strapped locals who rushed to the State Bank of India ATM on G T Road, Belur, early on Monday were in for a rude shock when they found the booth damaged. However, the ATM machine was intact, said police.
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“The miscreants used big stones to break the ATM door. It may have been a fallout due to anger among locals over the crisis of notes,” said a police officer.
A diary entry of the incident has been made at Belur police station. Police sources a probe was also initiated on Monday.
“We are yet to find out who is behind all this. We are trying to trace the miscreants. They may be common people or even a politically influenced group,” said another police officer.
A string of incidents of violence at ATMs and banks have been reported across the state since the demonetisation. A few days ago, a Union Bank of India branch office in Howrah was attacked by angry customers. Frustrated after standing in queue for hours, they shattered glass doors, damaged CCTVs, an ATM machine and even the vault. Police had to put up barricades around the office to bring the situation under control. “Incidents of ATMs being damaged were also reported from Liluah, Shibpur and Madhyamgram over the past week,” said a police officer. Further aggravating the situation is the fact that several ATMs are not functional.
With tempers running high over the cash crunch, security at ATMs has been tightened to prevent more such incidents, said police sources.
“We are planning to increase police patrolling at night. Hopefully the situation will improve in the coming days,” said an official of Howrah city police.