Eight persons were injured in Patratu, 35km from Ranchi, when police opened fire on village protesters on Sunday.
All the victims, aged between 30 and 35 years have been admitted to RIMS with bullet wounds. Doctors said one, who took a bullet on the right side of his abdomen, is critical.
Deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey and SSP Saket Kumar Singh visited the spot and ordered suspension of the officers in charge of Chanho and Khelari police stations. However, villagers blocked the Ranchi-Daltonganj Road till afternoon in protest against the firing.
Sources said tension brewed between two groups of villagers on Saturday night over an alleged attempt to kidnap a vegetable vendor. “On Sunday morning, a village meeting was held over the matter. The accused, Sabir, was questioned. The informal court suddenly turned ugly when police reached the spot to take the accused into custody,” said an eyewitness who identified himself as Vasudev Mahto.
Ramesh Kumar, a victim of the firing, alleged that they launched a protest because police were trying to protect Sabir who had “connections”. “Police started lathi-charge and later opened fire on us. We only wanted them to take cognisance of our complaint against the accused,” he said.
Rural SP Asim Vikrant Minz said 13 rounds were fired, but only after villagers pelted stones at policemen.
“We are investigating various aspects of the case, including the kidnap bid. Two officers have been suspended. In their statement, they have claimed that they fired to protect the forces,” he said, adding that four policemen were injured in the stone pelting and a case had been lodged against unidentified persons.