Tension prevailed at Mahadalit tola of Bhelaipur village in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar, following the lynching of a motorcyclist who accidentally hit a goat, which had strayed from an encroached residential area on to the state highway, Saturday.
Navin Kumar, 45, a farmer of Patti Bandhu Rao village under Lalganj police station of Vaishali, was thrashed mercilessly before his throat was slit by a mob for injuring the goat. His friend and pillion rider Sikandra Sahni, who was also injured in the incident, is battling for his life at a private nursing home in Muzaffarpur.
People from nearby villages retaliated by attacking the Mahadalit tola and ransacking the houses there, late Saturday evening. Some 100 families, residing at the tola, had already deserted the tola, leaving their houses unattended.
The police have so far arrested 10 persons — two in connection with Navin Kumar’s murder and eight others for arson and loot at the Mahadalit tola.
This is not the first time that residents of the tola had shown such intolerance even for petty incidents. Some villagers said it was a common trick to trap motorists and extorting money from them.
“Anti-social elements deliberately push cattle on the road when they see a speeding vehicle approaching. Once a vehicle hits the cattle, they create a ruckus and try to extort as much money as possible from such motorists,” said a villager, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, Vinod Singh, father of the deceased man, was crestfallen. In Navin’s killing, he had lost the second of his three sons. Eleven years back, he had lost his first son in a road mishap.
“Some villagers told me that Navin was begging for his life and even gave them (the criminals) Rs 5,000, which he had at that point of time, with an assurance to give them more if they released him. Still, they did not pay any heed to his request,” he said in a choked voice.
At least 24 such road hold-ups had been reported along the state highways in the past two years.
“We have tried to draw the attention of the police and civil authorities to the recurring menace, but to no avail,” said Tulsi Rai, a former member of the district board.
Sub divisional police officer (SDPO) of Saraiya, Kumar Gaurav Mangala, said that raids were on to nab the hooligans.
“The residents of Mahadalit tola have left their dwellings to take shelter at safer places. We have deployed a team of 30 jawans and an officer to avoid any further incident. We will provide security to those who want to return home,” said Mangala.