A policeman allegedly fired several rounds near the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in central Kolkata’s busy Park Circus area on Friday afternoon, killing a woman and injuring two people before shooting himself dead, police said.
The incident happened around 2.30 pm a few hundred metres away from the Seven-Point Crossing where thousands of people had gathered to protest against the inflammatory remarks made by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
The woman, identified as Rima Singha of Dasnagar in Howrah, was passing by, riding pillion on a bike taxi when she was hit by a bullet as the on-duty policeman kept firing from his Self-Loading Rifle (SLR), triggering chaos in the congested area, police said.
She died on the spot, while the policeman after firing a few rounds more shot himself in the head, they added.
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The gunman, constable Chodhup Lepcha of the Fifth Battalion of Kolkata Armed Police, fired at least 15-20 rounds, a senior police officer said.
”He was on duty outside the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission. Suddenly, he started firing indiscriminately and walked along Lower Range to AJC Bose Road-Beckbagan crossing,” the officer said.
Lepcha specifically targetted the woman as the two-wheeler was passing by, he said.
Two by-standers were also injured in the firing. They were admitted to the Chittaranjan National Medical College and Hospital, he said.
The incident had no connection with the protest at Seven-Point Crossing, the officer said, replying to a question.
”The whole episode lasted for around five minutes,” said a visibly shaken Bablu Sheikh, who claimed to have witnessed the incident.
Taking into account the statements of the eyewitnesses and the CCTV footage of the area, police are trying to stitch together and reconstruct the sequence of events, the officer said.
Lepcha was probably in mental depression, he said.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Vineet Goyel, who visited the spot, said Lepcha had joined the service a year ago.