New Delhi: While the nation was busy ringing in the New Year with a lot of merry-making and festivities, Kolkata's celebrations were marred by an ugly incident.
Two Army men - a Major and a Captain of the Madras regimen deployed in Salt Lake City - were arrested for misbehaving with women at a function at the upmarket Park hotel in the city and for drunken brawls.
The incident should have ended here, but three car loads of Army men belonging to the Madras Regiment forcibly entered and vandalised the Park Street police station in order to free the duo.
The Army men were carrying automatic SLR rifles. They beat up the sentry at the gate of the police station and then proceeded inside where they proceeded to beat up 13 policemen, ransacked the police station including the Additional Officer In Charge's cabin and smashed glass cases.
They managed to break open the cell where their two colleagues were locked and freed them. In the ensuing confusion, other inmates also managed to escape from the lockup.
The Army has expressed extreme disappointment over the behviour of the jawans and a court of enquiry has been ordered into the matter.
The ironic part is that the two Army men would have eventually been handed over to the Army as the Army has the first right into an enquiry over anything concerning its personnel other than rape and murder - and in this case, it was a minor charge of eve-teasing.
The Army has said that this is clearly a case of over-reaction on the part of the Madras Regiment.
The Kolkata Police is taking up the issue with the concerned authorities and is trying to get the Army men out of a court martial and try them in a civil court instead.
Says Joint Commissioner Kolkata, Kuldeep Singh, "I have never seen this kind of an incident in my life. In this incident 11 people have been injured and one policeman have even been admitted to the Kolkata Police Hospital. We have started an investigation into the matter."
The Army has already set up three-member inquiry committee, which has reached the Park Street police station to collect information.