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Leader murder fuels mob ire

- BJP legislator faces wrath of protesters

Three motorcycle-borne assailants gunned down LJP leader and contractor Ashok Singh Kushwaha (45) when he had gone out for morning walk near his house in Vaishali district on Thursday.

The incident occurred near Guru Chowk in the Jandaha area of Vaishali, around 40km northeast of Patna.

Police said the assailants fired at Kushwaha from point-blank range, killing him on the spot around 5.30am. Kushwaha’s relatives said they heard a gunshot soon after he had left the house. “By the time we reached the spot, the assailants had fled. The place is barely 500m from the house,” said Kushwaha’s brother, Ramnami Singh.

Sources in the LJP’s family said his firm, Ashok Construction Private Company Ltd, was awarded the contact of a 3-km road between Dubaha and Panapur under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana early this year.

Residents staged a blockade on National Highway-103 and paralysed traffic around 6am in protest against the murder. Acchutanand Singh, the BJP legislator from Jandaha, too, had to face the wrath of the demonstrators. They raised anti-government slogans and demanded immediate arrest of the killers when the BJP leader reached the spot. Singh assured the agitators that the criminals would be arrested at the earliest.

Traffic on the busy NH-103 remained crippled till 12noon. The blockade was lifted after Vaishali superintendent of police (SP) Upendra Sinha told the deceased’s family that the criminals would be arrested within three days. The SP said the reason behind the murder was yet to be ascertained.

“The police will verify whether Kushwaha had ever received any extortion call,” the officer said. He added that forensic experts have gathered evidence from the spot.

The residents threatened to stage a blockade on Gandhi Setu and not allow any vehicle to proceed towards Patna on November 4 when the JD(U) would organise the Adhikar Rally at Gandhi Maidan.


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