The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bike-jackers shoot down colonel

Danapur (Patna), May 25: An army officer was shot dead by motorcycle-snatchers outside Bihar’s capital this afternoon.

Lieutenant Colonel Surendra Rai, a surgeon posted at the Bikaner military hospital for about two years, had taken leave to come to Patna where his daughter Isha was due to appear for the state medical entrance test tomorrow.

The 45-year-old officer had put up with his sister, who lives in Patna. His ancestral house in the heart of Patna has been on rent after his parents died. This morning, Rai headed to the Gola Road area in Danapur, where he owns some land, on his brother-in-law’s motorcycle.

“It seems some motorcycle-snatchers stopped the army officer. When he resisted, they fired at him and sped away with the Hero Honda Splendour, leaving him to die. Witnesses are not willing to say anything,” an officer at Danapur police station said.

Vehicle snatching is on the rise in Rabri Devi’s Bihar, as are kidnapping for ransom, robberies and train dacoities. On an average 70 vehicles are snatched in Patna every month.

Local residents took Rai to the Danapur Sadar hospital, where he identified himself as an army doctor. A hospital source said the officer struggled for some time but he was bleeding profusely.

“He died before he could be moved to the military hospital,” he added.

Rai’s wife is on her way to Patna with her daughters. The officer was a doting father to his four daughters.

“The eldest studies in an engineering college in Karnataka. Isha is the second. The third is doing her Plus Two in Bikaner and the youngest goes to school there. Mamaji’s family had moved to Bikaner last year,” his nephew Sunil Kumar said.

The officer’s brother-in-law said: “Doctor saheb moved out of the house alone on my motorcycle this morning as he had some work in Danapur. We received information about the incident around 3 pm. He was a mild mannered person and a very good surgeon.”

A social worker who has been fighting the rising crime said: “The biggest political leader of Bihar, Laloo Prasad, is concerned mainly with winning elections and perfecting the art of staying in power. Law and order and safety of the common man’s life is low on the priority of the government led by his party.”

At the military hospital to receive her brother’s body, Laxmi Devi was inconsolable.

“My brother used to come to Patna rarely as he was being transferred from one place to another. He had bought some land in the city as he wanted to settle down here. I never knew this would be his last visit to Patna,” she wept, huddled in a corner at the entrance.

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