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Clashes, violence mark bandh

- Residents and pedestrians hurt, vehicles damaged

Violence marked the bandh called by Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) student bodies against alleged police brutality on Thursday.

Even vehicles and pedestrians were not spared in the clashes that ensued between the cops and the protesters. The windows of more than a dozen vehicles were smashed. The protesters also closed down markets and other business establishments.

The Delhi-bound 12367 Vikramshila Express was detained for more than 25 minutes at Bhagalpur railway station and the train could depart only after the intervention of rail security personnel and the police. School, colleges, banks and other organisations remained closed and the otherwise busy roads wore a deserted look.

The bandh had been called after a police vehicle hit two students, injuring one and killing the other, on Tuesday evening.

Sources said the deceased had been staying at a lodge in Sarai locality near the varsity. On Tuesday evening (December 3), he and his friend Kunal were returning back to the lodge after playing cricket when a police vehicle of the University police station hit them. The duo were rushed to a nearby nursing home where Ansu succumbed to his injuries.

On Wednesday, different student bodies went on the rampage near the University police station and clashed with the police over the death of Ansu, a second-year mathematics undergraduate student of DNS College, an affiliated unit of TMBU at Bhusia in Rajoun block of Banka district.

Sources said the cops allegedly refused to register any case and drove away the students from the police station. According to the police, the incident occurred as the driver hit the students trying to save a reckless motorcyclist.

On Wednesday, a mob pelted stones at the police station and tried to set it on fire. Sources said even residents joined in and some of them tried to torch a police vehicle. Later, the police arrested many students from the lodges in the surrounding parts of the varsity.

As many as 25 police personnel, including city deputy superintendent of police Bina Kumar, suffered injuries in the clash. Police had to use canes to drive back mob and many residents, too, suffered injuries.

Bhagalpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajesh Kumar said 34 students were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the incident. He said the police on Thursday registered a case against the driver of the police vehicle that hit the students.

He said: “The driver of the police station was suspended and another employee had been appointed. That person is absconding after the incident.”

The SSP removed the station house officer, Anil Mishra, and appointed Parushuram Singh in his place. “Many people are under suspicion regarding Wednesday’s incident and we are trying to nab them,” he said. He added that no major incident had been reported so far related to the bandh called by the students.

Former state minister and BJP MLA from Bhagalpur, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, on Thursday staged a dharna near Ghantaghar in the heart of the city and condemned the police action. He demaded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of the deceased. BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain, too, has demanded adequate compensation and a judicial inquiry into the incident.