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Mumbai shootout: Encounter or murder?

india Updated: Oct 28, 2008 14:36 IST
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Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called the killing of the Patna youth, Rahul Raj, an “overreaction of Mumbai police”.

Rahul was killed in an encounter inside a bus near Bailbazar area in the eastern suburb of Kurla in Mumbai on Wednesday.

But although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured an all-party delegation from Bihar on Monday morning that he would speak to the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Home Minister on the incident, deputy Chief Minister RR Patil said in Nagpur that whatever the police did was appropriate. “If anyone uses a bullet, obviously he gets a bullet,” he said.

<b1>Patil, who also holds the Home Ministry portfolio, said the police cordoned off the bus and asked Rahul to surrender. But he fired at the police. He was seen first threatening the policemen and running up and down the bus.

Claiming that Rahul was killed in retaliatory fire, Patil said: “It is purely an act of a mad person and please don’t link it with the law and order situation.”

But Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, criticising Patil’s move to justify the killing, said: “Had he (Rahul) wanted to kill Raj Thackeray, he would have gone straight to his residence.”

Nitish Kumar said: “It was like firing a cannon to kill a fly. The police action appears more than warranted.”

<b2>He said even if Rahul was wielding a gun, the police could have captured him. He added that prima facie, the boy did not seem to be a criminal. “A detailed inquiry will reveal the truth.”

Kumar has directed the state’s chief secretary and police chief to seek details from their counterparts in Maharashtra. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anil Sinha said Inspector General (CID) Rajesh Ranjan would go to Mumbai to obtain the details.

Earlier, in their meeting with the Prime Minister, Bihar leaders demanded an enquiry into the incident by a sitting judge.

Meanwhile, the railway authorities have rushed reinforcements to all the stations in the Patna district, particularly as the mobs protesting against the recent attacks on Biharis in Mumbai had targeted railway property.