Patna erupts in violence after student's brutal murder at law college

The murder took on a political overtone as leader of opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav condemned the incident and blamed the state government for its failure to contain crime.
Security personnel deployed to maintain law and order following a protest by college students after a final year student was beaten to death by some unidentified persons on the law college campus of Patna University, in Patna, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Security personnel deployed to maintain law and order following a protest by college students after a final year student was beaten to death by some unidentified persons on the law college campus of Patna University, in Patna, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.(Photo | PTI)

PATNA: Violence erupted on the streets of the state capital on Tuesday, a day after the daylight killing of a 22-year-old student, Harsh Raj, when he had gone to take his examination at the Law College under Patna university on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nearby localities of Patna University came out on the streets, indulged in vandalism and arson. They disrupted vehicular traffic on the busy Ashok Raj Path for several hours since morning.

The police resorted to baton charge to disperse the rampaging mob.

Tension has gripped the Patna university campus and its vicinity in the wake of fresh violence on Tuesday. More incidents of clashes among students cannot be ruled out. Additional police force has been deployed to prevent any untoward incident. Patrolling in the vicinity of the university has also been intensified.

On Monday, a group of 10-15 masked youth surrounded Harsh Raj near the parking lot of the Law College located near Patna NIT and attacked him with sticks, iron rods and bricks. His repeated pleas to spare him, however, fell on deaf ears.

The assailants who had covered their faces with ‘gumchhas’ (towels) disappeared from the scene of crime only when Harsh Raj, a student of BA Professional English (Hons) at B N College, fell unconscious. The attack occurred around 12.45 pm on Monday.

The bystanders could not muster courage to intervene as they apprehended threat to their lives from the assailants.

Harsh Raj was rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Subsequently, police informed the close relatives of Harsh Raj about his death.

Earlier in the day, police arrested the alleged mastermind of the incident Chandan Yadav, also a student at Patna University.

“Preliminary investigation suggested that the murder of Harsh Raj was a fallout of a clash that took place during a ‘Dandya night’ event organised in October last year.

Patna city superintendent of police (central) Bharat Soni that a suspect identified as Chandan Kumar, a resident of Amhara near Bihta in Patna district, has been arrested and raids were underway to nab other accused. “The CCTV footage is being obtained to ascertain the identity of the perpetrators of crime,” he added.

Harsh Raj’s father Jitendra Kumar is a journalist based at Hajipur in neighbouring Vaishali district. The deceased’s family members told the police that Harsh Raj was actively involved in politics and wanted to contest the Patna University students' union election.

The last election of students’ union of Patna University was held in 2022. On being contacted, Patna Law College principal Mohammad Sharif said that he had no information about the incident. “I don’t know anything about the incident,” he said.

The murder took political overtone as leader of opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav condemned the incident and blamed the state government for its failure to contain crime.

“The law-and-order situation has deteriorated during the present dispensation. People are being attacked and killed anytime and anywhere. People are feeling insecure due to poor law and order situation in the state,” he told the media.

Former state minister and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahani also took a dig at the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government for poor law and order situation.

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