Friday, September 28, 2007

'Indian Idol' Prashant's fans clash with Siliguri locals

Siliguri, Sept. 28 (PTI): The army and the BSF were today called after fans of Indian Idol Prashant Tamang and local people clashed here.
Urban Development minister Ashok Bhattacharjee said that the army and BSF had been called and would be arriving shortly after mob violence during which cars were torched.
He said he had heard that firing had taken place, but no senior police official was available to confirm it.
The trouble erupted when a 2000-strong procession of fans of Indian Idol Prasanth Tamang were marching in a procession to the SDO's office to submit a memorandum in protest against the derogatory comments by a FM radio jockey in Delhi against Tamang, the police said.
While the processionists were passing through Hospital Road an ambulance with a patient inside tried to drive into the Siliguri Zilla Hospital located there, the sources said.
This was resisted by the processionists and an altercation took place with those inside the ambulance. The processionists then allegedly assaulted all inside the ambulance, including the patient.
Local people protested, which infuriated the fans further and they began vandalising shops in the area.
The local people then chased them into the nearby court compound and began throwing stones and torched cars, the sources said.
The police arrived on the scene and hustled the processionists into rooms inside and locked them in to keep them out of harm's way.
The police tried to reason with the mob and asked them to disperse, but when the appeal fell on deaf ears, a few rounds of teargas were fired, the police said.
The Rapid Action Force was deployed and reinforcements were brought from Jalpaiguri, while section 144 CrPC was clamped on Nepali-speaking pockets in the town, the sources said.
The Inspector General of Police, North Bengal, R J S Nawla was at the spot.
The Urban Development minister appealed for calm and urged people not to spread rumours.