Ahead of polls in Bihar’s Munger, 1 killed, 27 injured as idol immersion turns violent
Traditionally, the idols are immersed after three days of Vijayadashami but this time the administration insisted on the immersion by 5 am Tuesday in view of the first phase of the Assembly election on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old man was killed and 27 people including 20 policemen were injured in a clash between the police and a mob during the immersion of Durga idols in Bihar’s Munger town on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, police said.
Eyewitnesses said the police opened fire to control the violence that erupted following an argument between revellers participating in immersion of Durga idols and Kotwali police personnel. The police initially used tear gas shells but they proved ineffective, they added.
The police said some of the revelers used firearms in the clashes.
“The mob pelted stones and opened fire on police which led to the death of one person and injured 27 people including 20 policemen,” Munger’s superintendent of police Lipi Singh said.
Prakash Bhagat, a member of Durga Idol Immersion committee said more than 53 Durga idols were installed in Munger out of which 15 idols were taken by revellers for immersion in the Ganga at Deendayal Chowk . Traditionally, the idols are immersed after three days of Vijayadashami but this time the administration insisted on the immersion by 5 am Tuesday in view of the first phase of the Assembly election on Wednesday.
Durga puja organizers allegedly took out a procession with DJs playing loud music close to midnight as they headed for the immersion. The situation turned ugly around 11.50 pm when police officials allegedly beat four persons who were carrying idols on their shoulders. It sparked off a protest with the processionists and puja organisers demanding action against the policemen.
The mob started pelting stones on the police which prompted a lathi charge. Eyewitnesses said the police also used tear gas shells and fired 15 rounds in the air to disperse the violent mob.
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Sadhna Kumar, a relative of the deceased said that Anurag Kumar, died after he was shot in the head.
“Seven persons also received bullet injuries while one of them who is critical was rushed to Bhagalpur for better treatment”, said deputy superintendent of Munger Sadar hospital Dr Niranjan.
At least 20 policemen including SHOs of Sangarmpur, Kotwali, Kasim Bazar, Basudeopur police stations were injured in the clashes.
The clash continued till around 1 am before the administration brought it under control. Almost the entire police force of the district was routed towards Kotwali after clashes broke out. Later personnel from the Bihar Military Police (BMP) and paramilitary forces were also deployed in affected areas.
The situation in Munger town and surrounding areas continues to be tense on Tuesday despite the deployment of a large security force.
Munger’s district magistrate Rajesh Meena and superintendent of police Lipi Singh rushed to the spot and remained at the site of the clash till 3 am until the situation was brought completely under control.
“The police took the help of public representatives to facilitate the immersion,” Meena said.
He also appealed to people to adhere to prohibitory orders and inform the police control room about any troublemakers. “We are seeking video footage from local residents,” Meena said.
The Munger SP said police recovered three firearms, live cartridges and empty bullets from the scene of the clash.