Mill worker dies after immolation attempt in Bihar
Naresh Srivastava, 54, who had suffered 70% burn, died during treatment at the Patna Medical College Hospital, while Suraj Baitha, 50, was battling for life with 50% burn injuries.Updated: Apr 11, 2017 13:26 IST
Tension mounted at Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district after one of the two persons succumbed to burn injuries suffered during an immolation bid on Tuesday.
Naresh Srivastava, 54, who had suffered 70% burn, died during treatment at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH),150 km from Motihari. The other person, Suraj Baitha, 50, was battling for life with 50% burn injuries .
Srivastava and Baitha, both employees of now closed sugar factory at Motihari, were brought to PMCH on Monday after they jumped into a fire, which was ignited using firewood and rubber tyres during a protest demanding release of their unpaid wages since 2002.
The news of Srivastava’s death spread like wildfire , leading to heavy deployment of police around the closed sugar factory.
The immolation bid, announced earlier, was part of the ongoing agitation by sugar factory workers for the last few days.
As the two persons burned, agitators resorted to brickbatting. Seeing the rampaging mob, the police initially resorted to baton charge and then lobbed teargas shells. When matters worsened, the cops opened fire, injuring nearly 15-20 persons in the melee, some reportedly receiving splinter injuries.
Meanwhile, the workers were joined in their protest by farmers who were yet to receive payments for the sugarcane they had sold to factory. The protestors also received support from opposition parties, including BJP and Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party (JAP). Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and state-level functionaries of JAP have already met the the protesting mill workers and extended full support to them.
The incident has cast a shadow on the centenary celebrations of the Mahatma Gandhi Champaran satyagrah, which kicked off on Monday. Gandhi had visited Champaran in 1917 to espouse the cause of indigo farmers.
Governor Ramnath Kovind is scheduled to visit here on April 13 as part of Champaran satyagrah celebrations, followed by chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is expected to participate in the proposed satyagrah smriti yatra on April 18.
(With inputs from Sagar Suraj in Motihari)
First Published: Apr 11, 2017 13:26 IST