Bihar CM Nitish Kumar says senior officers mishandled Madhubani situation

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 15, 2012 14:00 hrs

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday pulled up senior officials for mishandling local issues that precipitated the protest and arson leading to police firing on protesters in the state's Madhubani District.

"Whatever has happened in Madhubani District is not good, and it would have been better had it been tackled appropriately by officials at the ground level," Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of his Janata Durbar in Patna today.

"I am not opposed to the democratic right to protest ... People have a right to protest even against the chief minister, but it should be peaceful," Kumar said.

He said that the delay in handing over the body of a boy Prashant Kumar Jha, who was kidnapped and killed, had stirred protests leading to violence, arson and damage to public property.

Kumar said that as soon as he came to know about violence, he had called a meeting of senior civil and police officials and directed the local authorities to hand over Jha's body, besides ordering the transfer of four officials.

He also said that he had recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the kidnapping of the boy in which the alleged involvement of the District Project Officer, Education Jagatpati Chaudhary came to the fore.

The Bihar Chief Minister said that he ordered a judicial probe into the violence and police firing in Madhubani district and a letter by the Home Department has been sent to the Patna High Court chief justice for suggesting the name of a retired judge to head the probe panel.

As soon as the state government received the name of the retired judge, a notification for a judicial probe would be issued, Kumar said.

He disapproved damage to public property in Madhubani and said it would burden the state exchequer to replace and restore them.

Earlier, raising concerns over the deteriorating law and order in Bihar, the Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal called for a shutdown on Monday in protest against the increase in police brutality in the state.

Thousands of supporters of India's regional Lok Janshakti party took to streets to enforce the shutdown across the state.

The president of the Lok Janshakti Party, Ram Vilas Paswan, criticised the state government for the failure to maintain law and order in the state.

"We demand that the government headed by Nitish Kumar should be thrown out of power, and declare that this is an anti-people government. People have taken to the streets against the increasing atrocities by the police and corruption has crossed all the boundaries and people are fed up of all this. One tends to feel extremely sorry at what happened in Madhubani district," said Paswan.

The surge in the violence in Madhubani forced Nitish Kumar to postpone his 'Adhikar Yatra' in Buxar and Bhojpur Districts.

The shutdown called by the opposition parties hit the rail services and road traffic in Arrah city of Bhojpur district, causing inconvenience to millions of people.

Slogan shouting protesters with party flags blocked railway tracks and halted several trains.

The district president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal party, Adeeb Rizvi, said they were compelled to take to the streets in wake of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

"We have stopped trains and blocked railway tracks and we want to convey our message through Indian government that the law and order situation in Bihar is deteriorating and police is trying to act on its own. The police shoots wherever they want and they kill anyone, as you must have seen in Madhubani, Gaya, Bhojpur, Shahpur and such violent activities are increasing day by day in Bihar. We have taken to the streets against the Bihar government as per the orders issued by our party chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav," said Rizvi.

Madhubani has been tense since Friday after angry locals went on a rampage following the death of students when the police fired to disperse protesters.

The protesters were demanding the local administration to take appropriate action over the missing of another 17-year-old student last month.

Angry mob mainly comprising of young boys were seen smashing doors and windows of government offices and set the Basopatti police station ablaze. (ANI)

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