The attack on a seven-member Punjab Police team in Haryana on Wednesday, in which one person was killed, came only two months after the police chiefs of seven northern states and the Union Territory of Chandigarh met to review strategies to curb drug abuse, and has exposed operational and communication gaps between the different police forces.
The attack on the Punjab's CIA-1 police team occurred at around 5 am in a village in Sirsa district of Haryana; the officers were there to raid the home of alleged drug supplier Kulwinder Singh. A gunfight broke out with locals turning on the police officials, assaulting them and burning their vehicle. Two officers were seriously injured.
Haryana Police issued a press release on Wednesday evening blaming their Punjab colleagues for not following proper protocol.
"According to law, Bathinda Police should have sought help by informing the local police before going to conduct a raid, but no such information was given to Sirsa Police in this case, which shows a procedural lapse on the part of Bathinda Police," the press release said.
According to news agency PTI, video clips of the fight surfaced on social media showing members of the police team being attacked with iron rods, sticks, bricks and sharp-edged weapons. The police team returned fire on the villagers in self-defence, killing Jagga Singh, who was believed to be related to the suspect.
A Haryana Police team arrived at the scene to rescue their colleagues and, after complaints were registered by both sides, have taken up the matter, at the highest level, with their colleagues.
The attack on Wednesday is not an isolated incident.
Last month a team of police from Punjab's Tarn Taran were attacked by villagers in Amritsar district. In July another team, while arresting an alleged drug smuggler, was attacked by villagers in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
The incident has also led to sparring between the ruling Congress and the opposition in Punjab, with BJP leader Tarun Chugh declaring it showed Punjab Police had failed to deal with the drug menace under Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's rule.
With input from PTI