PATNA: A senior leader of Bihar’s main Opposition party RJD was on Thursday shot dead in Samastipur district by unidentified assailants. The murder, one of seven in the state in 24 hours, sparked protests and prompted RJD to blame RSS and BJP.
Raghubar Rai, 50, was shot at outside his home in Kalyanpur village when he was having a morning walk, said police. Eyewitnesses said three men came on a bike and pumped six bullets into Rai before escaping.
Rai, who was RJD’s state general secretary and earlier served as vice-chairman of the local zila parishad, was rushed to a private nursing home in Darbhanga, where he was declared brought dead. The news of his death led hundreds of people to block the Darbhanga-Samastipur highway in protest against lawlessness in the area. Just hours earlier, a 53-year-old farmer was shot dead in nearby Bibhutipur village.
Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of RJD attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for Rai’s murder, asking him to “rein in government-backed goons”.
“Why do you (Kumar) cling to your chair as CM and home minister? Criminals patronized by you are selectively killing leaders of RJD and RLSP, but you have so far kept silent. Extremely condemnable,” said Yadav in a tweet.
RJD state president Ram Chandra Purve said Rai was a popular leader in Samastipur, Khagaria and Darbhanga and that he had arranged grand a celebration of socialist icon Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary in the area later in the day.
“Rai was killed to foil the Karpoori anniversary function he was going to attend. The popular leader was on the target of RSS and BJP for quite some time,” said Purve. RJD vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said Bihar’s NDA government has no concern for the sharply falling law and order situation in the state.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad slammed Nitish Kumar in a tweet, saying: “He has no shame. He says rule of law prevails in Bihar while people are being killed like insects. He is still playing the same cassette”.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP hit back at the RJD chief, saying more than 100 massacres and numerous abductions took place in Bihar during RJD rule. “The convicted Lalu is trying to sully Bihar’s image by tweeting from jail,” said Modi. Lalu’s twitter handle is operated by his close aides and family members.