Villagers attack police over opening of PDS shop in BiharUpdated: Apr 29, 2020, 15:04 IST
A sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and a sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) in Bihar’s Kaimur district sustained minor injuries, while a home guard was severely wounded on Tuesday afternoon when angry villagers attacked them for shielding what they called an “errant” public distribution system (PDS) dealer.
The SDPO’s official sports utility vehicle (SUV) was also damaged in the attack.
The home guard, Sudarshan Bind, who has suffered a broken jaw and profuse bleeding, is undergoing treatment at a local district hospital.
The incident occurred at Chhevari village under Ramgarh police station of Kaimur district, when the SDM, SDPO, and other officials reached the spot to open a sealed PDS shop.
The villagers attacked the officials because they opposed the officials’ move to open the PDS shop, which was sealed last week on charges of malpractices.
Dilnawaz Ahmad, superintendent of police (SP), Kaimur district, rushed to the troubled spot and brought the situation under control.
The police have registered a case against seven named and 50 unidentified attackers. They have been booked under Section 148 (rioting) and Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They have also been charged for the violation of the ongoing nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were initially enforced for 21 days from March 25 and then further extended for another 19 days till May 3 to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, under the National Disaster Management Act.
The district police authorities have arrested seven people, including the husband of Chhevari panchayat head, Harendra Ram. “Ram is accused of leading the mob. The other assailants have also been identified, and they will be arrested soon,” SP Ahmad said.
The district administration had sealed two PDS shops in the village last week in the presence of SDM Shiv Kumar Raut, marketing officer Hemendra Kumar, and the police last week following the locals’ complaints about the dealers’malpractices.
On Tuesday, SDM Raut, SDPO, district supply officer (DSO) Prabhat Kumar Jha reached the village with the police in a bid to settle the dispute over the dealers’ alleged malpractices. The officials announced that the licence of one of the PDS shops had been cancelled, and a dealer from an adjacent village has been entrusted with the responsibility to run it.
However, the officials gave a clean chit to the second dealer, which irked the villagers and demanded the closure of both the PDS shops. Soon, they gheraoed the officials and started pelting stones at them.
“Many PDS dealers in Kaimur district are indulging in rampant corruption for long. This has been a cause for resentment among the poor villagers, who are primarily dependent on the PDS for their survival. Tuesday’s violence was an outburst of their pent-up anger and frustration,” said Vijay Yadav, district secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist).