PATNA: Police in Bihar’s eastern Bhagalpur district on Thursday lathi-charged a group of villagers sitting on hunger strike for the past three days demanding compensation for having been displaced by
the floods a few months back. At least ten people, including eight women, were badly injured and hospitalised.
Some 50 people were gathered in front of the Bhagalpur district magistrate’s office since December 5, and five of them had been on a hunger strike. Since no official of the district administration paid any attention to them, some of the people allegedly resorted to violence by pelting a few stones at some policemen.
This prompted police to wield the baton on the protestors in an effort to disperse them.
“These people first started violence by pelting stones at policemen standing nearby. While their demands are already in consideration by the district administration, their violent method was uncalled for,” said Kumar Anuj, the SDO (Sadar) of Bhagalpur.
With the crowd of protestors comprising many women, some of them of advanced age, the lathi charge by police came in for criticism from various sections. The protestors were from Sultanganj block, which was particularly hit by floods a few months back, and other flood-affected pockets of the district said sources.
“We are conducting a probe into what led to the violence by the protestors and in which condition the lathi charge was conducted. It is said that it was the protestors who first threw stones at policemen standing nearby peacefully, said Bhagalpur SSP Manoj Kumar.
Surendra Jha, a local resident, said it was “extremely unfortunate” that a democratically elected government wields lathi on people sitting on a hunger strike to obtain their rights.
“The Nitish Kumar government should pay foremost attention to the demands of the underprivileged sections of people. Without they prospering, all talk about a rising Bihar would prove futile,” he added.