Bhagalpur strike against police brutality evokes mixed response


Patna, Aug 31 : A day long strike in Bihar's Bhagalpur district against police brutality on an alleged chain snatcher evoked mixed response Friday.

The strike was called by the Communist Party of India - Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) and was supported by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Mohammad Aurangzeb, alias Saleem, was thrashed and tortured by police in Nathnagar, a small town in the district, about 150 km from here Monday for allegedly snatching a chain. He was also dragged through the street after being tied to the back of a motorcycle.

According to district administration officials, about 40 workers of CPI-ML were arrested Friday in Bhagalpur town and over a dozen were arrested in Nathnagar.

The strike seemed to be a success early Friday, when shops and other establishments remained closed. But by the afternoon, the markets opened and people resumed their normal lives.

But CPI-ML leader K.D. Yadav said the strike was total and the people supported it. He said that markets, offices and educational institutions remained closed through the day.

The district administration deployed security personnel in large numbers in Bhagalpur as well as Nathnagar to avoid any untoward incident.

The two policemen who tortured Aurangzeb were dismissed from service by the state government for violation of human rights.

Bhagalpur superintendent of police J.S. Gangwar said the two policemen were dismissed from service under article 311, sub-clause 2(B) of the constitution. "The step was taken to warn others not to repeat it," Gangwar told IANS Friday.

The policemen were dismissed on the recommendation of DIG eastern range Girjanand Sharma.

Soon after the incident came to light, state police spokesperson Anil Sinha tried to downplay it by alleging that Aurangzeb had a criminal background. But when the issue triggered widespread protests, the authorities suspended Ramchandra Rai and L.B. Singh Tuesday.

Earlier, a complaint was lodged against the policemen and they were issued a show cause notice.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe into the incident.

Human rights organisations have condemned the incident and demanded immediate action against the policemen. The National Human Rights Commission has also issued a notice to the Bihar home department to produce a report on the incident.



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