It’s Lynching as Justice in the Wild East!

Sasaram (Bihar): Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s tall claims of ‘Sushashan’ or good governance have fallen apart in Rohtas district. Violence, kidnapping, and extortion have become commonplace, say local citizens.

Just yesterday (24 October), a mob lynched four ‘suspected extortionists’ who were trying to escape after shooting at and critically injuring a businessman in Vikramganj (Rohtas district), around 165km southwest of Patna.

The businessman is now at the Patna Medical College and Hospital after his condition deteriorated due to excess blood loss.

The incident occurred around 7.30am, say locals. Eight criminals on four motorbikes reached a garments shop owned by one  Vikas Choudhary, who happened to be the husband of Rohtas district board member Rinki Kumari. The shop is at Koath Bazar under the jurisdiction of Dawath police station.  The men were trying to threaten him and extort money. When Vikas, also known as Arun, refused, one of the criminals shot at him. The bullet, howeve, hit another businessman, Bhikhu Choudhary.

The criminals then fired indiscriminately to frighten the businessmen and bystanders.But the crowd chased  and caught hold of four of them. The crowd beat the men with iron rods, bamboo sticks and stones.

Vikramganj sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Neeraj Kumar said the police intervened and rushed the four injured to the local primary centre for treatment but they succumbed to injuries on the way. The four other goons managed to escape.

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The police picked up iron rods and bamboo sticks from the site and sent the bodies for post-mortem. SDPO Neeraj said the deceased were in the age group of 20-25 years.

Vikas told the police that he had received threat calls from some local extortionists about a month ago. “The local police were apprised of the matter but the cops didn’t initiate any action,” said a close relative of Vikas.

Dawath police station house officer (SHO) Alok Kumar claimed Bhikhu (also known as Neerajan) received bullet injuries while trying to protect Vikas.

The police have launched raids to nab those who lynched the four men and a case of culpable homicide has been lodged against ‘unidentified persons’, the SHO said.

People’s anger against the police’s failure to contain crime in the district was palpable. They shouted slogans against the cops and demanded immediate arrest of the accused in recent incidents of kidnapping and murder. Businessman Dudheshwar Prasad Sah was kidnapped from Nasariganj police station area of the district on October 11 this year.

“Murder, kidnapping and extortion have become routine in the district,” said Ritik Kumar, a  businessman from Dehri-on-Sone, the sub-divisional headquarters of Rohtas.

[illustration is of another incident, used for representation only]

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