Thane: Police wield lathis in Bhiwandi, 'avert' stampede outside bank
While the scene of long queues for money is repeated outside many banks, in Bhiwandi, the police claim they used their lathis to avert a stampede on Sunday outside a bank
A grab from a video shot by a customer shows a policeman hitting people with his lathi outside the SBI at Bhiwandi
The common man continues to struggle to exchange or withdraw cash after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. While the scene of long queues is repeated outside many banks, in Bhiwandi, the police claim they used their lathis to avert a stampede on Sunday outside a bank. They say there was no lathi charge, but they used the lathis to handle the crowd to save a fallen senior citizen. A customer shot a video of the incident outside the State Bank of India near the Zakat Naka, Anand Dighe chowk, in Bhiwandi.
Manoj Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 2, (Bhiwandi) said, "There was a huge crowd outside the bank. As soon as the door of the SBI branch opened, people rushed inside. A few women fell and there was a stampede situation. We did not lathi charge, but to save the women who were stuck in the crowd, we used the lathis to move the crowd."
'Lathis used to save women'
But DM Katke, Senior Police Inspector, Bhiwandi city police station, who confirmed the incident stating that it happened on Sunday at around 1pm, said they hit some people. “There was a notice that the cash in the ATM was over and as soon as the door to the branch opened, the crowd from the ATM came there. An old woman fell along with three other women. To save them and move the crowd, our personnel hit one or two people.”
Katke added that they have now installed a barricade outside the bank. "No one was harmed in the incident. We care for the public. The bank manager had asked us for protection, which we had provided. How can we manage to provide more, as we have 14 bank outlets in our jurisdiction?" he added.
Branch manager unaware
Anil Kumar, Branch Manager, State Bank of India, Bhiwandi branch claimed that he was not aware about the Sunday incident, as he was inside the bank.
"I came to know about the incident on Sunday evening, when I went home, through media. We had asked the police for police protection prior to November 9, saying we are not aware how many people will be there for the exchange etc. Accordingly they had stationed around 5 police personnel."
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