Traffic on Ranchi-Patna Highway (NH-33) came to a halt for five hours on Sunday morning as agitators blocked the crucial link at several points in response to an all-party bandh called to protest the murder of a TV cameraman on Saturday.
The agitation was lifted only after the local administration promised to nab the killers in seven days even as police insisted that 39-year-old Sriniwas Sonkar’s killing had nothing to do with his profession.
Sonkar, who used to work for a Hindi news channel in Ranchi, was returning home with his wife after shopping when three bike-borne men shot at him from point blank range at Jhanda Chowk in Ramgarh district around 8.30pm on Saturday. The assailants fired in the air before fleeing.
Sonkar, who took four bullets, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
The incident sparked anger among local residents, who blocked NH-33 around 10pm on Saturday. Demanding immediate arrest of the killers, the protesters burnt tyres at several points. The protest was quelled by district officials around 11.50pm.
However, the agitators were back on the road at 6am on Sunday, holding traffic to ransom. Administrative officials and police officers, led by sub-divisional officer Deepak Kumar and deputy superintendent of police Dhananjay Kumar, reached the spot and pacified the agitators by promising to arrest the killers in seven days.
Saying that they were working on various angles, Ramgarh superintendent of police Anis Gupta stressed: “One thing is however certain — the murder has nothing to do with the fact that he is a cameraman of a news channel. It’s the fallout of some enmity. No arrest has been made so far.”
A police officer said on condition of anonymity that they were probing Sonkar’s links with a woman and some criminals. “We are interrogating a woman, who was close to the victim. Sonkar’s wife Simran also admitted that he used to stay away from home on most nights. Sonkar was earlier rounded up in a case related to threatening a businessman,” the officer added.