Residents went on the rampage on Monday after a teenaged boy died on touching a dangling high-tension electric wire submerged in the waterlogged Kutchhery Station Road.
The mob ransacked the offices of the superintendent of police and the electricity department, demanding adequate amount of compensation for the family of 17-year-old Suraj Pandit.
Hailing from Supaul district, Suraj used to stay at a lodge near Kosi Chowk in Saharsa town for his Intermediate studies.
The boy was going for tuition, when he came in contact with the submerged wire and died instantly. Soon after, the mob torched a compartment and the locomotive of Raghopur-Saharsa Passenger after halting it near Kosi Chowk, around 310km northeast of Patna.
Senior divisional commercial manager of Samastipur rail division of Eastern Central Railway MAI Humayun said: “The mob attacked the Raghopur-Saharsa Passenger today and torched a bogie and the engine. The compartment was gutted but the engine was partially damaged. It is difficult to assess the amount of damage suffered by the railways.”
The situation spun out of control because of the aggressiveness of the residents, the office of superintendent of police and the electricity office.
“The district administration is quite aware of the frequent snapping and dangling of electric wires in the town. The electricity office hardly pays attention to such incidents in spite of frequent accidents. Last week, an autorickshaw came in contact with a dangling high-tension electric wire at Bango Road, killing a man and injuring seven others. People protested but the administration chose to ignore,” said an eyewitness, Ramesh Mandal.
“Sunday’s intense midnight storm damaged trees and snapped electric wires along the roads in the town area but the electricity department did not disconnect the electricity in the Kosi Chowk area, resulting in the boy’s death. The electricity administration overlook such things, so people became aggressive. Police had to use mild force to control the mob when people pelted stones at them,” said Kosi Chowk resident Sarvesh Jha.
Town sub-divisional police officer Prem Sagar said: “Residents created chaos at different points of the town and vandalised public property. We would register several cases against the mob, while we would include the names of the perpetrators in the FIRs after tracing the video footage.”
The sub-divisional police officer said: “The police carried out flag march in the town to contain the situation. It is difficult to calculate the damage at this point.”
He added: “Police are camping at different sites in the town to keep tabs on untoward incidents. We have detained 31 people for interrogation.”