Bihar town tense, no Muharram observed here
Tension still prevails in Kahalgaon of Bihar after an angry mob on Sunday set ablaze a security personnel vehicle.Updated: Jan 20, 2008 19:19 IST
Tension still prevails in Kahalgaon of Bihar after an angry mob on Sunday set ablaze a security personnel vehicle and Muslims did not observe Muharram in protest against last week's police firing that left five people killed in the town.
"At present, the situation is tense but under control. Some people burnt a vehicle of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force)," a senior police official camping in Kahalgaon told IANS.
The opposition political parties led by Rashtriya Janata Dal called for a statewide shutdown on January 25 against the killings in police firing when the people were demanding supply of adequate power.
The five people were killed and over a dozen others injured in Kahalgaon when hundreds of people staged protests against acute power shortage that has been plaguing many parts of the state.
A day after violent clashes between the police and people that left the town shocked and upset, angry people were seen gathered at several places and discussing how to protest and seek justice for those killed in the police firing.
"We want justice and stern action against guilty police officials," Mithlesh Kumar, a local businessman, told IANS.
"We have decided not to observe Muharram to show our anger and to protest against police brutality in Kahalgaon," said Shahzad Alam, a Muslim youth of Kahalgaon.
"Muslims in the town were deeply hurt by the police action against people protesting acute power shortage, as two of the five killed in the police firing were Muslims," he told IANS.
One Muslim youth was killed in the police firing on Friday and the other on Saturday.
According to sources, Mohammad Khairuddin, 18, was dragged by the police on Saturday from his home in Kazipur, a Muslim populated locality, beaten in full public view and then shot dead. In the process, another Muslim youth, Mohammad Aslam, suffered serious injuries and has been hospitalised.
The whole event was captured by a cameraperson and subsequently shown by a local television channel that sparked more protests on Saturday.
Officials in Patna said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday night ordered a judicial probe into the police firings on Friday and Saturday.
Acute power shortages have sparked protests in many parts of Bihar, one of the least developed states of India.
Electricity offices have been ransacked in at least two dozen districts in the past few weeks.
Three people were killed and at least 20 injured when the police opened fire on the crowd on Friday. The police claimed they opened fire after some protesters attacked them.
Hundreds of people took to the streets on Saturday to protest the killings. They set ablaze a vehicle of a hospital, blocked roads and pelted stones at policemen. The police opened fire and two more people were killed.
The residents said they were staging a peaceful protest against the killing of three people and frequent power outages when the police opened fire without any provocation.
A large number of security personnel, including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, were deployed in the town to prevent further escalation of violence.
The government earlier announced a compensation of Rs 100,000 each to the victims of police firing and transferred officials, including the officer in charge of the Kahalgaon police station.
According to energy department officials, the state needs 1,500-1,600 MW of power. It at present produces no electricity, as both its power plants at Kanti in Muzaffarpur and Barauni in Begusarai have been declared 'sick' since 2000.
Though it is supposed to get 1,170 MW from the central grid, the state has so far received only 700-800 MW, officials here complained. This was the core of the whole crisis, they added.