A 45-year-old man died while cleaning a gas tank at a rice mill at Kasba Chowk in the district, around 350km northeast of Patna.
The deceased was identified as Rajendra Chaurasia, a resident of Kasba. He has been working with the mill for two years. Sources said Rajendra was taken to the Kasba public health centre, where he was declared brought dead. The sources added that some workers accused the mill authorities of trying to hush up the worker’s death.
Superintendent of police (Purnea) Amit Lodha said: “A case has been registered in connection with the death of the mill worker. His body has been sent for post-mortem to the Sadar hospital. It’s early to conclude how he died. We are waiting for the post-mortem report.”
After the news of the incident spread, Mazdoor Kranti Sangh supporters, led by their coordinator, Balram Sah, rushed to the health centre and stopped the mill authorities from taking out Rajendra’s body. “They (mill authorities) were trying to hush up the incident. They were trying to take the body to the sadar hospital without informing the victim’s family,” Sah said.
“The mill management has agreed to pay adequate compensation to Rajendra’s family, a demand for which we staged a demonstration. We will step up our demonstration if the mill management fails to keep its promise. Rajednra’s daughter, Sunita Kumar, has given in writing to the police that her father died while cleaning the gas tank at the rice mill.”
An allegation of death of labourers in a mill and the attempt to dump their bodies had cropped up in January in Gopalganj district.
Four bodies, including that of two women, were found lying wrapped in two gunny bags in Gopalganj district.
Police had then said the four persons, in all probability, were from Jharkhand and used to work in a rice mill at Majhaulia in West Champaran district. The gunny bags imprints of a sugar mill. The police suspected that the four persons died in some accident in the mill and there were attempts to dump the bodies.