RJD workers burn tyres in Patna on Saturday.(S Kumar/HT Photo)
RJD workers burn tyres in Patna on Saturday.(S Kumar/HT Photo)

Violence erupts in Bihar, six admitted with bullet injuries

There were clashes between people from two communities at Patna, Nawada and Gopalganj on Saturday. Clashes first erupted in Phulwari Sharif, in which 25 persons have reportedly been injured due to stone pelting and gunshots.
By Avinash Kumar | Hindustan Times, Patna
UPDATED ON DEC 21, 2019 11:06 PM IST

The Bihar bandh called by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Saturday to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) was marred by violence, a day after chief minister Nitish Kumar announced that Bihar will not conduct the NRC among its residents. Six persons with bullet injuries were admitted to a hospital, even as the police have arrested 13 persons across the state for inciting violence. In the state capital, six journalists were attacked by some protesters.

There were clashes between people from two communities at Patna, Nawada and Gopalganj on Saturday. Clashes first erupted in Phulwari Sharif, in which 25 persons have reportedly been injured due to stone pelting and gunshots. At least 11, people including two policemen were referred to AIIMS Patna; six of those admitted there had bullet injuries, and the condition of one of them was said to be critical, police officials said. Another person with stab wounds, 26-year-old Shahnawaz Husain, was admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital, officials added. It is unclear whether the police or miscreants fired guns.

The incident occurred after the procession that was peaceful till then reached Phulwari Sharif chowk. That was when some miscreants allegedly pelted stones on the procession. The Rapid Action Force and armed district police were called in, and the police lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd. The police also resorted to a lathi charge.

Central Range Inspector General (Patna) Sanjay Kumar Singh said that the district magistrate (DM) Kumar Ravi, and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Garima Mallik were at site, but no preventive arrests have been made as yet. “The situation is now under control,” Ravi said.

In the state capital, vehicles were damaged, and at least six journalists and photographers were targeted by miscreants and some Bandh supporters at Dak Bungalow chowk, the police said. Dinesh, a photographer with a local Hindi newspaper, suffered a head injury while a photographer of an English daily was beaten up. Prakash Singh, an editor with a news channel and cameraman Suraj Kumar were also attacked.

In Nawada, miscreants reportedly ransacked the Bundelkhand police station and damaged several vehicles, following which Nawada SP Hari Prasath S and DM Kaushal Kumar reached the spot. In Gopalganj, five protestors were injured in a clash. In Aurangabad, shopkeepers who refused to down their shutters were allegedly attacked by miscreants. An assistant sub-inspector named Sanjay Kumar was injured in the incident, as the police used tear gas to dispel the protests. At least 35 persons were detained, and raids were ongoing on Saturday, Aurangabad Superintendent of Police Dipak Barnwal said. “Several policemen were also injured in stone pelting,” he added.

Processions were taken out across Bihar. As a result, private and public vehicles and city buses stayed off the roads in Patna.

Schools and colleges remained closed, while business establishments were shut due to large-scale protests. Bandh supporters also blocked national and state highways bringing traffic to a halt. Train movements were also blocked at several places.

Over 1,550 RJD workers were detained but released on later in the evening, while 13 people have so far been arrested for inciting violence across the state, Additional Director General (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said.

The CAA eases naturalisation of undocumented migrants who are “persecuted minorities”, excluding Muslims, from three neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, while the proposed all-India NRC aims to identify and detain undocumented migrants.

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