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Village heads scurry for cover

Maheshwar Prasad Singh, the panchayat head of Mandaidih in Vaishali district, has approached Patepur police station for security cover after being threatened by a criminal a fortnight ago.

His counterpart of Godaipatti in Darbhanga district, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, has requested police with security arrangements. Choudhary, who was elected the head of the panchayat in 2011, apprehended threat to his life allegedly from some close associates of his predecessor, Ram Pravesh Mishra.

Maheshwar and Vijay are not alone. Several people’s representatives are scurrying for security cover following attacks, or threats, either by hired criminals or Maoists in the recent past. The latest victim in the series of attacks on the elected representatives was Umesh Singh, the deputy village head of Patepur in Vaishali. Umesh, along with son Rahul Bharti, was killed at Suki village on Thursday.

According to figures available at the state police headquarters, 34 village heads have been murdered in the past one-and-a-half years. Seven panchayat heads were killed in East Champaran, four mukhiyas in Begusarai, three in Muzaffarpur and two each in Patna, Sitamarhi, Munger and Aurangabad. Similar incidents have also been reported from Siwan, Saran, Sheikhpura, Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Madhubani, Nalanda, Nawada, Banka and Katihar districts.

Jitendra Singh, the panchayat head of Hasanpur in Samastipur district, on Sunday said the government sho-uld look into their demand.

Additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar said the security aspect of the people’s representatives was looked after by the district-level security committee comprising the district magistrate and the superintendent of police.