| Rohtas superintendent of police Vikas Barman at the clash site at Baddi on Thursday. Picture by Sanjay Choudhary |
Patna, Aug. 16: At least one person was killed and 42 others were injured in a clash over hoisting of National Flag on Independence Day at Baddi in Rohtas district, around 165km southwest from here.
Seven of the 35 injured persons, including a woman and a minor boy, are recuperating at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). The rest are undergoing treatment at Sasaram sadar hospital.
The trouble erupted around 9am yesterday when some influential persons prevented some people belonging to the Mahadalit community from hoisting the National Flag near Sant Ravidas temple. The influential group allegedly opened fire to disperse the gathering. Three persons — Ram Vilas Ram (75), Sukhiya Devi (55) and Rahul Kumar (14) — suffered bullet injuries. The firing triggered a stampede-like situation, in which about 36 people suffered injuries.
Ram succumbed to injuries at the Sasaram sadar hospital yesterday. Residents claimed Sukhiya died on the way to the PMCH today, but only Ram’s death was officially confirmed.
Ram Jatan Ram, who was injured in the clash, said some residents prevented them from hoisting the flag in the Mahadalit Tola. In the ensuing clash 42 people, including two women, were seriously injured.
Guddu Singh, a member of the rival group, said they had been hoisting the National Flag near freedom fighter Nishant Singh’s statue for long. “When we came to know about the Mahadalit community’s strategy to protest, we informed the station house officer (SHO) of Baddi police station,” he told The Telegraph.
SHO Balwant Singh visited the village on August 14 and met the members of the two groups. “The Mahadalits agreed not to protest against the flag hoisting. But on August 15 morning, they assembled in large numbers and damaged the flag,” he said. Agitated, the non-Mahadalit community tried to disperse the protesters.
Rohtas superintendent of police Vikas Barman said 11 people had been arrested. Separate FIRs have been lodged at the Baddi police station.
Around 300 women blocked road and disrupted traffic near Sasaram collectorate today protesting against the alleged police atrocities on male members of their community and action against the erring policemen. “The police entered our houses in the night and harassed the women,” claimed Vibha Kumari, who was leading the protest at the collectorate.