A shocking incident of a mob attack on two women officers of the Udupi District administration has come to light in Kundapur taluk. Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis and Assistant Commissioner Shilpa Nag were attacked by a mob of villagers on Sunday night, when they were conducting a raid to check illegal sand mining.
At midnight on Sunday, Udupi DC Francis and two other officers – Assistant Commissioner Shilpa Nag and Kandlur village accountant Kantharaj – conducted a surprise raid in Kandlur village located in Kundapur taluk, following multiple complaints from local residents.
“We had received several complaints from many residents in the area that illegal sand mining activities were taking place there. We conducted a surprise raid on Sunday night and found that a gang of six men were heading the operation,” DC Francis told TNM.
The Deputy Commissioner and her team were questioning the men regarding the illegal activity, when some of the workers employed by the six men allegedly fled.
“When we were inspecting the spot, some of the labourers ran away and took shelter at the homes of a few villagers. By then, I had already informed the police about the illegal sand mining and they were on their way to Kandlur. A few minutes after the labourers had escaped, they informed the villagers about the raid and huge mob descended on us,” the Deputy Commissioner added.
The DC says that she and her team had not informed the police in advance about the raid as they wanted it be a surprise inspection.
“We did not want anyone but the three of us to know about the raid. Illegal sand mining is not new to coastal Karnataka and it has been happening for decades now. But what shocked us was that the villagers supported the gang and did not fear that they would be arrested if they attacked the authorities,” DC Priyanka said.
She said that while she and AC Nag escaped from the mob with the help of her gunman, village accountant Kantharaj was not as lucky.
“Shilpa and I were not scared. We immediately sat inside the car as our gunman escorted us. I was in front, followed by Shilpa, Kantharaj and my gunman. The villagers did not attack the gunman as he was armed but Kantharaj was pulled from us and beaten up mercilessly. There were about 40 of them I think. The entire village may be in this nexus and the investigation will reveal the truth,” she said.
The police then arrived on the spot and arrested a total of 14 men. They also transferred Kantharaj to the Udupi district hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment.
“Eight people in the mob have been booked for assault and attempted murder, while the other six (were booked) under section 379 of the IPC for illegal sand mining,” said Udupi Superintendent of Police, Balakrishna.
Before reaching the spot in Kandlur, DC Francis and her team had also raided another illegal sand extraction spot in Halnad, and seven people were taken into custody there.