Reacting for the first time to the Balli incident, Goa Police on Saturday said the leaders had lost control over the crowd on that fateful Wednesday as the tribals were drunk.
Speaking to media persons, Goa Police spokesperson Atmaram Deshpande said the body language of the agitators indicated that they were drunk and further claimed that their leaders had lost control over them.
Even the lathi charge was a result of the unruly behavior of the agitating tribals who pelted stones and injured Superintendent of Police Tony Fernandes. 16 other police personnel were injured that day.
Deshpande admitted that the crowd outnumbered the police forcing them to back out.
He said after the police returned to the Cuncolim police station, local residents of Balli retaliated by attacking the tribals and asserted that no police personnel were present when two of the tribals were torched to death in the Adarsh Farmers’ Co-operative Society building at Balli.
Pointing out that the police were told that it was only a “token” strike whereby the tribals would be made aware of their rights, he said the police had even given permission to hold the awareness campaign. “Nobody including the crowd itself, imagined the agitation would turn violent,” he said.
He said one of the two bodies of the tribals lying in the morgue at Goa Medical College was charred beyond recognition and revealed that the police would be going in for a DNA test to ascertain its identity.