Suspected members of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) killed 16 people, including five children, at Amba Icharwa village in Bihar’s Khagaria district, about 200 km east of Patna, on Wednesday.
The victims’ hands were allegedly tied before they were shot. Most of the victims are backward caste Kurmis.
Paro Singh, the lone survivor escaped by feigning dead.
“The gruesome manner in which the people were killed has established the role of Naxali-tes,” District Magistrate Abhay Kumar Singh told Hindustan Times. “We feel the Naxalites executed the carnage due to a land dispute, or to establish their supremacy in the entire area.”
Paro said he was sleeping in his hut in Kamla Bihta (four km from the site of killings) when around 30 people barged in with rifles and took him and 16 other villagers captive at gunpoint. They were herded to an open field where they were tied and thrashed, he said. “Then the armed group started firing indiscriminately on us.”
Unlike previous carnages, however, the Maoists did not leave any leaflets claiming responsibility. Ten people have been arrested on suspicion.
Villagers blocked roads and shouted anti-government slogans. They did not allow the bodies to be taken for post-mortem till Thursday evening, demanding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visit the site.
The area falls in the riverine belt of Khagaria, infamous for its gangs. Lately, Naxalites have been gaining a foothold here. Villagers suspect the Musahars, a dominant Dalit caste supported by Maoists, carried out the killings. The two castes have an ongoing land dispute.Listen to Podcast