Eight persons — seven policemen and a Maoist undertrial prisoner — were killed in a road accident in Sitamarhi district in north Bihar early Saturday morning.
Seven policemen and another undertrial Maoist were also injured when a prisoners van rammed into a stationary truck on national highway (NH)-77 near Gaighat villager in Runnisaidpur police station area, 25 km south of Sitamarhi.
The injured are undergoing treatment at a private nursing home at Muzaffarpur, 62 km from here.
Police said the accident took place when the ill-fated van, carrying 14 policemen and two Maoist prisoners from Bhagalpur in eastern Bihar, hit a stone chips laden truck on Sitamarhi-Muzaffarpur stretch of NH 77. “The policemen were escorting the two hardcore Maoists, who were being shifted from Bhagalpur special central prison to Sitamarhi divisional jail,” said Runnisaidpur station house officer (SHO) Shiv Narayan Ram.
“Prima facie, it appears that the van was moving at a high speed. The driver could not assess whether the truck was standing or moving due to darkness. It may also be possible that the driver could have briefly dosed off. We are trying to ascertain the real reason behind the mishap,” Ram said.
Sitamarhi superintendent of police (SP) Hari Prasath S confirmed the death of eight persons in the accident. “The victims include seven policemen and a hardcore Maoist,” he said. All the victim policemen were from Sitamarhi, the SP added.
The victims have been identified as Munna Singh (driver), Kuleshwar Chaudhury, Sanjay Kumar, Krishna Singh, Madan Sah, Umesh Mishra and Chumun Singh (all constables) and Hemant Kumar (prisoner).
The injured are Pawan Rai, Rajdeo Ram, Pramod Singh, Surendra Paswan, Bipin Kumar, Awadesh Singh and Shiv Shankar Rai (all constables) and Suhag Paswan (prisoner).
The SP said Paswan and Hemant Kumar were arrested last year from Vaishali district and initially lodged in Sitamarhi jail. They were among eight Maoists who were shifted to Bhagalpur from Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur about six months back, he said, adding that Paswan had been ‘self styled’ Vaishali zone commander of CPI (Maoist).