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12 hurt in clash during immersion

At least 12 persons were injured, five of them seriously, in a violent clash between two groups during idol immersion at Pathan Toli under Sidhawalia police station in Gopalganj district, report Ramashankar and Rajesh Kr Thakur.

patna Updated: Feb 06, 2009 01:45 IST

At least 12 persons were injured, five of them seriously, in a violent clash between two groups during idol immersion at Pathan Toli under Sidhawalia police station in Gopalganj district on Wednesday. An inspector, Jai Prakash, who was present on the spot, died of cardiac arrest. The seriously injured have been admitted to a local hospital for treatment.

Trouble erupted when the people belonging to nearby Bisunpur village were on way to a river for idol immersion. As soon as they reached Pathan Toli, some anti-socials hurled stones triggering clashes between the two groups. In the meantime, a group of people opened fire, exploded bombs and set a few houses on fire.

The policemen, who were escorting the procession from a distance, were surprised by the sudden attack. The situation turned for the worse when the anti-socials set afire the tractor carrying the idol of Goddess Saraswati. On getting information, inspector Jai Prakash, rushed to the spot and tried to pacify the mob. He later complained of chest pain and was immediately taken to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Additional Director-General (ADG), headquarters, Neelmani said Jai Prakash died of cardiac arrest and not due to any injuries. “The route of the immersion procession was diverted due to damage of a culvert,” he said, adding that reinforcements from the state police headquarters and adjoining districts have already rushed to the spot.

Saran divisional commissioner, accompanied by deputy inspector-general, district magistrate and the superintendent of police, were camping at the village. “Efforts are on to bring the situation under control through dialogue between the two rival groups,” the ADG said.

Reports reaching the state police headquarters said the police lobbed teargas shells to disperse the mob, which was not in a mood to relent. Two policemen, including Gopalganj SP Amrit Raj and a constable, Diwakar Pandey, sustained injuries in the brickbatting.

The police have cordoned off the entire area and prohibited people from entering the village. Even mediapersons were not allowed to visit the spot. Sources said tension was brewing since Monday after the residents of Pathan Toli did not allow an idol immersion procession to pass through the village.

SHO of Sidhawalia police station Kesharichand said police escort was provided for idol immersion in view of the tension. But, the procession was attacked all off a sudden. “When we apprehended that the situation was going out of hand, we informed senior police officials and sought reinforcements,” he added. The senior officials were trying to defuse the tension through dialogue.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is on Vikas Yatra talk to the Personnel Secretary and Home Secretary about the incident and issued necessary instructions.