| The torched Ambedkar Kalyan hostel in Madarpur. Picture by Jitendra Kumar Shrivastava |
The district administration imposed Section 144 on Madarpur locality on Sunday morning after violence between residents and hostel inmates since Saturday night escalated.
A minor scuffle between inmates of Ambedkar Kalyan Hostel, meant for Scheduled Caste students, and residents over purchase of some goods triggered the violence. But residents were angry with the inmates since long, allegedly because of some lewd comments they passed on some girls and eve-teasing incidents.
Madarpur resident Amar Ram said: “We are preparing a public petition for the police. We are from economically weaker sections, so we did not inform police about intolerable behaviour of hostel inmates.”
Another resident, Jyoti Prakash, said: “Hostel students often reflect light from mirrors on girls and women in our locality. They pass comments, taunts and make unpleasant faces at girls and women. They would also fight after purchasing goods from shops here.”
On Saturday, angry residents beat up the hostel inmates around 7pm. Later, around 9.30pm they torched a portion of the hostel backyard. By 7am on Sunday, the two sides pelted each other with stones. One Janaki Devi fractured her hand in the violence. The district administration ordered a lathi-charge to defuse the tension and later imposed Section 144.
District magistrate Kumar Ravi said: “We got to know around 7am on Sunday that the two sides were indulging in stone-pelting. We used a mild lathi-charge to defuse the situation. A petty issue fuelled the tension. Angry people torched the hostel backyard.”
According to Ravi, residents had not told them anything about eve-teasing or lewd comments by the hostel inmates. He said: “The situation is under control now. We vacated the hostel and are trying to zero in on those who were illegally staying there. ”
A resident said: “Male police personnel caned women, injuring them. The police beat up some journalists and smashed their cameras when they were taking pictures of women being beaten up. Over six people were hurt and are being treated at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital.”
Senior superintendent of police Kumar Aikely was not available for comment.