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Gang-war massacre

Patna, July 3: Ten people were killed late last night in Nawada district in an inter-gang rivalry that took on the hues of a caste war.

About two dozen heavily-armed men swooped down on the backward Koiri-Kurmi village of Chakwai in Warsaliganj at 10 pm and fired indiscriminately, killing eight residents on the spot and seriously injuring three, including a woman. Two of the injured succumbed to injuries and one is being treated at the Patna Medical College Hospital.

“Goons from Belar village raided Chakwai village and opened fire from all sides, killing all those who were preparing to sleep at a meeting hall,” said a resident of the village. Those killed include two alleged members of the Mahto gang.

Residents of the village did not allow police to take the bodies away for post mortem. They demanded that Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav visit the spot and ensure ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh and government jobs for the next of kin of each of those killed.

The police suspect that Akhilesh Singh — the Bhumihar husband of Warsalignaj MLA Aruna Devi who joined Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party three days ago — is responsible for the massacre.

Earlier in the day, the Singh gang allegedly shot dead the two young sons of Arjun Chouhan of Anaipur village while they were working in the fields.

“Both the killings could be in retaliation to the earlier murder of Bhim Singh, an Akhilesh Singh supporter, allegedly by the Ashok Mahto gang,” said Baldeo Prasad, the police superintendent of Nawada.

Bhim Singh of Belar village in Kashichak, who was shot about a month ago allegedly by the Mahto gang, was the brother of an Akhilesh gang member. Two other men of the same gang were killed two months ago.

“It is the fallout of an ongoing rivalry between the Singh and Mahto gangs,” said director-general of police Narayan Mishra.

Singh, who is also a politician, has been in Nawada jail for some time but many members of his gang are said to be moving around unhindered. Mahto was also in jail, but escaped. The feud between the two gangs has been going on for several years.

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