Backlash in Bihar after two entrepreneurs’ detained for questioning Nitish Kumar; two cops suspended

While the CM, though slightly annoyed about being asked questions by delegates during his speech, said he wanted to meet the two men after concluding his address.

Published: 24th March 2017 06:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2017 06:30 PM   |  A+A-

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Express News Service

PATNA: The detention of two entrepreneurs in Patna for over six hours by police for asking questions to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a public programme has sparked protests from various quarters, leading to the suspension of two policemen on Friday.

“Finding that detaining the two entrepreneurs at a police station for a background check was wholly unnecessary and we have placed under suspension sub-inspector Dilip Chauhan and constable Shambhu Sharan Paswan, posted at Gandhi Maidan police station,” said Patna SSP Manu Maharaj on Friday. He also said that showcause notices were issued to DSP (town) Kailash Prasad and Gandhi Maidan SHO Priyaranjan Kumar.

The two entrepreneurs – Nemi Kumar of Madhubani and Suresh Kumar Sharma of Begusarai – were picked up by police from an entrepreneurship summit attended by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as the chief guest in Patna on Tuesday. Nemi Kumar, who had submitted four start-up ideas to the State government, asked a question to the CM about the absence of transparency in selecting ideas. Sharma raised the issue of harassment he had faced by bank officials for a loan taken to manufacture machines to make flattened and puffed rice.

While the CM, though slightly annoyed about being asked questions by delegates during his speech, said he wanted to meet the two men after concluding his address. Kumar also had a brief chat with the two entrepreneurs, but soon after he left the venue, policemen picked up the duo. They were taken to Gandhi Maidan police station, where they were detained and questioned from 2 PM to 8 PM.

Allegations by the two entrepreneurs that they were not allowed to eat, drink or even to go to the toilet during those six hours had sparked backlash across Bihar. Policemen also called up their families to ask about possible criminal backgrounds.

“It is highly unacceptable in a democracy that people are being locked up for raising legitimate questions at a public programme… It should be probed if the two entrepreneurs were detained at the behest of the chief minister. If not, then the police official who ordered it must be suspended immediately,” said senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

Industry bodies also expressed deep resentment about the detention of the two. “Such an incident at a time when the chief minister is encouraging the youth to take up entrepreneurship is very disturbing. Police must not pick up and question people for raising their issues,” said Satyajit Kumar, chairman of the Bihar unit of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
 

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