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Attack on Odisha cops: ‘Lady Don’ proves elusive

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, June 11:

It is a cat and mouse game that the mouse – in this case the woman who has come to be known as the ‘Lady Don’ in Odisha – appears to be winning, at least till now.

Lady Don Saila Ranasingh, who lords over the Haldipadia slum
Lady Don Saila Ranasingh, who lords over the Haldipadia slum

With its pride badly bruised after a no-holds-barred attack on a posse of hapless policemen at Haldipadia basti in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening, commissionerate police is pulling out all stops to arrest Saila Ranasingh, the ‘Lady Don’ who it believes masterminded the assault. But it is a measure as much of resourcefulness of the feisty woman as the utter helplessness of the police that Saila has remained elusive for three days now.

Fve police personnel, including Laxmisagar IIC Rajat Ray, were injured  in the mob attack at the Haldipadia slum here during which the policemen were not only thrashed black and blue, but were thrown into a stinking drain and had their body and uniform smeared with muck all over the place.

Based on information that Saila could surrender in the court any time if her anticipatory bail plea is rejected, policemen in plainclothes kept a hawk eye on the Bhubaneswar court premises all day today, but had to return empty-handed as there was no trace of her till the close of court hours.

The special squad formed to book the troublemakers split into groups and fanned out in three directions conducting surprise raids at her native place under Ranapur police limits in Nayagarh, her relative’ places in Bhubaneswar and several other possible hideouts to nab her. But Saila proved elusive.

One report said she has slipped out to Kolkata. Police is veifying CCTV ffotage in the Bhubaneswar Railway station to cross-check the veracity of the claim.

Yesterday, Laxmisagar police received an anonymous call during which the caller, identifying herself as Saila, threw an open challenge to police to arrest her. The caller challenged the police to prevent her from obtaining bail from the court.

In an interesting revelation, it has now come to light that Laxmisagar police, the target of her ire on Monday, had once saved Saila’s life. In 2004, a profusely bleeding Saila had rushed to the police station after a youth in the basti shoved a crowbar into her stomach during a face-off. She was immediately put on the police jeep and rushed first to the Capital Hospital here and then to the SCB Medical Ccollege Hospital in Cuttack, saving her life in the process,

Laxmisagar police could not have imagined at the time that the same Saila would engineer a murderous assault on them a decade later.