Bihar Govt Under Fire After Two Protestors Die in Katihar Police Firing

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The deceased have been identified as Khurshid Alam (34) and Sonu (25) of Basal village in Katihar. Niyaz, 32, is undergoing treatment in Siliguri after sustaining a bullet injury

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Bihar government is facing flak after police in Katihar opened fire at protestors angry over erratic electricity supply. Two persons died and one was injured in Wednesday’s firing incident.

The deceased have been identified as Khurshid Alam (34) and Sonu (25) of Basal village in Katihar. Niyaz, 32, is undergoing treatment in Siliguri after sustaining a bullet injury. 

The gruesome visuals of the injured victim and the police opening fire at the protesters have drawn strong reactions on social media.

The police said that they were forced to open fire after protestors became violent. Dozens of officials also sustained injuries as violent protestors repeatedly clashed with the police. However, political leaders have held the government of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar responsible for the incident.

Mahboob Alam, CPI-ML legislator from Balrampur in Katihar, said It is a failure of the state government. It is responsible for firing on innocent people. “Why weren’t the district police not prepared to control large crowds?”

“The police fired at an innocent boy who was running to save himself. He sustained a head injury. Who fired those shots? It should be investigated thoroughly. I condemn this incident in the strongest possible manner,” said Alam.

Alam’s criticism is ominous as his party is part of the grand alliance ruling  Bihar.

All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi also blamed the Bihar government for the incident calling it “shameful”.

“We are standing with the families of Khurshid and Sonu. We pray that Allah cures Niyaz. This is a shameful incident. The action of Bihar police has been justified by ministers in Nitish and Tejashwi government and the victims were called “troublemakers”,” tweeted Owaisi, the Hyderabad MP who often raises issues related to the Seemanchal region under which Katihar falls in Bihar.

Owaisi said when the poor demand electricity, they are shot dead. His tweet in Hindi asked: “Is this how social justice and secularism are being established? Is this how the BJP will be defeated?”

Commenting on the incident, Bihar Power Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said on Thursday that if people indulge in hooliganism, the police would resort to batons and bullets.

“In the monsoon season, rain and lightning are regular features. Hence, the power supply needs to be cut off to prevent any untoward incident. As the power supply was disrupted in the area, some youths started pelting stones at the electricity office. They broke the gate and dismantled office properties. The district police eventually took action against them. The state government has given a probe order and DM and SP of the district are investigating the incident,” Yadav said.

“The youths were violent. They pelted stones. What would the police do in such a situation? They would resort to batons and bullets,” Yadav said.

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