One person was killed and over two dozen people, including security personnel, were injured in firing and stone-pelting during goddess Durga idol immersion here, police said Tuesday, a day before the first phase of polling in the district and some other parts of the state.
The police said the incident happened late Monday night at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Chowk under the Kotwali police station limits of the city.
While people alleged the young man, who was in his early 20s, died in police firing, the administration said he was hit by a bullet fired by somebody from among the crowd.
Coming on the eve of polling in the first phase of assembly elections, the incident drew political reactions with LJP president Chirag Paswan demanding strong action against Superintendent of Police Lipi Singh. RJD chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav also criticised the state government for the incident.
"Tejashwi Yadav has criticised the Nitish Kumar government for shooting without any reason children going for the immersion of idol in Munger. He has expressed condolences to the family of the deceased," the RJD said in a tweet.
Chirag Paswan tweeted, "A 302 (murder) case should be registered against the Munger Police. Firing on devotees shows Nitish's is a Talibani regime. The local SP should be suspended immediately and an FIR registered against her under section 302 (murder)."
He demanded Rs 50 lakh ex gratia and a government job for the kin of the deceased. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the Election Commission should take cognisance of the incident and initiate action against the culprits. Munger District Magistrate Rajesh Meena said the police were also fired on. The DM and the district police chief visited the area and said the situation was under control.
SP Lipi Singh said, "Some antisocial elements indulged in stone-pelting during the Durga puja immersion which left 20 jawans injured. There was also firing from the side of the crowd in which unfortunately a person died. We are conducting flag marches across the city. The situation is under control. We are keeping an eye on antisocial elements. Don't pay attention to any kind of rumour," she said.
A purported video of the incident shows security personnel baton-charging a group of people in the immersion procession. Also, a disturbing image has been circulating on social media which shows the man purportedly killed in the incident lying motionless on the ground with his head split open.
Among the police personnel injured are Sangrampur police station SHO Sarvjeet Kumar, Kotwali SHO Santosh Kumar Singh, Kashim Bazaar SHO Shailesh Kumar and Basudevpur outpost in-charge Sushil Kumar, police said. Police said they have recovered three firearms, bullets and spent cartridges and added that some miscreants have been detained.
Witnesses said the trouble started after a makeshift bamboo carrier broke down while carrying a Durga idol and it was taking time to repair it. They said as the carrier was being repaired other idol processions got held up, leading to a pile-up. They said the administration wanted the procession to clear up quickly as the security personnel had to be deployed on election duty on Wednesday.