Munger: Police clashes with Durga worshippers; 1 killed, many injured
A man was killed while several others were injured amid clashes during the immersion of Goddess Durga's idol in Bihar's Munger on Monday. Visuals from the scene showed the Bihar Police baton-charging devotees. Disturbing photos of the deceased showing his head split open have also emerged online. The police have said the crowd of devotees had "some anti-social elements" who pelted stones at cops.
According to The Indian Express, the Badi Durga idol is immersed first in Munger as per local precedence. However, the police had insisted on the immersion of over 25 idols before midnight. The police reportedly accused the group of devotees of delaying the process as the crowd turned angry and allegedly started pelting stones. The police said it then responded by resorting to baton-charging.
The police said that it fired shots into the air in a bid to disperse the crowd, which was then allegedly retaliated with counter firing, TIE reported. The police said it recovered three country-made pistols, live cartridges, and empty bullets from the scene. As the police and the devotees clashed, at least 30 persons were injured and one, identified as Anurag Poddar, died.
This is from Munger in Bihar. A most brutal attack on Durga Puja devotees by police and security personnel. Pictures of a youth killed in this attack are horrific and deeply disturbing. pic.twitter.com/Bpqptzb3e1— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) October 27, 2020
Munger Superintendent of Police Lipi Singh told ANI, "Some anti-social elements restored to stone-pelting, which injured 20 policemen. After this, someone from the crowd fired leading to one death. The situation is under control." Singh told TIE that 26 cops—including station in-charges of Sangrampur, Kotwali, and Qasim Bazar—and four locals—identified as Saurabh, Chandan, Ashutosh, and Chhotu—were injured in the clash.
Singh told TIE, "We are collecting video footage of the spot to identify troublemakers. Adequate forces have been deployed to ensure no further untoward incident happens." She further said that the police have detained over 30 people who are being questioned. An official told NDTV that attempts were made to "falsely accuse the police of beating people up."
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan tweeted saying, "Munger police should be charged with murder. Devotees were fired upon in the 'Taliban-like' rule of Nitish Kumar." Notably, Paswan is fighting against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the upcoming state polls. Munger goes to poll on Wednesday. Deputy CM Sushil Modi described the incident as "unfortunate," calling upon the Election Commission to investigate.