4 killed in Bihar as police open fire on villagers

Updated - June 05, 2011 04:09 am IST

Published - June 04, 2011 09:39 am IST - Patna

In yet another incident of industrial land dispute in Bihar, four persons, including a woman and a child, were killed and more than a dozen policemen were injured after a pitched battle between villagers and policemen at Forbesganj in Araria district on Friday night.

The four, belonging to the minority community, were killed after the police opened fire on villagers protesting against a starch factory's compound wall blocking the village road.

The factory is said to be owned by Ashok Agarwal, Bharatiya Janata Party's Legislative Council member from Katihar.

More than 15 policemen, including Araria Superintendent of Police Garima Mullick, a magistrate and several villagers were injured in the melee that followed.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed Home Secretary Amir Subahani and Additional Director-General (Headquarters) Rajyavardhan Sharma to conduct a joint inquiry. He appealed to the villagers to maintain peace.

Araria district magistrate N. Sarvanan told The Hindu that there was no option but to order firing. “Compensation details are being worked out.”

According to reports received from the spot, residents of Bhajanpur village had, for some time, been protesting the erecting of the boundary wall of the starch plant.

After two rounds of talks between the villagers and the factory management broke down, thousands of locals turned on the policemen deployed at the spot, setting fire to factory equipment on the plant premises, and swooping on the authorities, brandishing sticks and country-made weapons.

A heavy police posse has been stationed in the area, where the situation was tense, though under control.

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