The Palghar police resorted to lathicharge on Friday after a crowd staged a road blockade in Waliv area of Nallasopara to protest an accident, in which a local resident, who was part of a Ganpati procession, died after he was run over by a water tanker earlier in the day.
Police said they had to resort to “mild lathicharge” after the crowd started pelting stones at vehicles. In addition to registering an FIR against the tanker driver, who was later arrested, a second FIR was registered against the protesters, including the family members of Kamlesh Binde, the deceased.
Palghar SP Gaurav Singh said the incident took place around 1 pm when a Ganpati procession was passing by Dhaniv Baug Talav area.
“Two tankers were also passing through the stretch. While the first tanker passed by, a pipe hanging from the second tanker hit Kamlesh Binde, who was part of the procession. Binde was knocked unconscious. He was taken to the nearby Platinum hospital. He was admitted to the ICU and was declared dead within half-an-hour,” Singh said.
Around 4.30 pm, the police claimed that a crowd of around 400 people assembled at the accident spot and staged a road blockade.
“A police team reached the spot to placate the crowd. But soon, the agitators started pelting stones at the vehicles passing by and damaged two vehicles. At this point, the police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd,” Singh said.
By then, Waliv police had arrested the tanker driver on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Singh said that following the blockade, another FIR was registered at Waliv police station on charges of unlawful assembly and rioting against the agitating crowd.
“The family members of the deceased have also been named as accused in the second case. No arrests have been made yet. After sometime, we will send the accused in the second case a notice to appear before the police,” Singh added.
In a video of the police lathicharge that has since gone viral, a policeman, who was not wearing an uniform, is seen hitting a woman once while trying to drive away the crowd. The SP said he is yet to see the video.
He added that due to water shortage in Vasai-Virar area, there is presence of large number of water tankers. “We will chart out a plan to ensure that these water tankers are not driven rashly,” Singh said.