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Protests over priest death

Residents of Indrapuri in the state capital hit the road on Friday in protest against the death of a priest due to injuries sustained in an accident five days ago, but were shooed away by a police lathicharge.

Lal Mohan Mishra (45), a resident of Road No. 6, was allegedly knocked down by a patrol vehicle belonging to Sukhdeonagar police station near Durga Temple on Ratu Road on Sunday while he was returning from Lalpur after performing puja.

But Sukhdeonagar police washed their hand of the accident and admitted Mishra to RIMS. Later, Mishra was shifted to Ranchi Hospital and then Gurunanak Hospital for better treatment.

But he succumbed on Friday, triggering protests in demand for compensation for priest’s wife and four children.

The angry residents of Indrapuri assembled on Ratu Road in front of the radio station around 12.30pm and tried to block it.

But a police team rushed to the spot and allegedly resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse the mob and ensure uninterrupted movement of vehicles on the road, which was already witnessing heavy traffic because of counting for the mayoral polls.

“A team from Sukhdeonagar police station used lathis to scare away the people. Some were even slapped and manhandled. The protesters left within five minutes,” a local resident said on the condition of anonymity.

An officer of Sukhdeonagar police station confirmed the blockade attempt, but denied the lathicharge.

“The protesters were warned against blocking the busy road. Those who didn’t listen to us were pushed away from the road. There was no need to use lathis,” he added.

Sukhdeonagar officer-in-charge Randhir Kumar Singh expressed ignorance about the incident although he was present at the spot.

“Lathicharge? I am not aware of it. I even don’t know whether anyone had tried to block the road,” he said.

He, however, admitted that a priest met with an accident on Sunday and an FIR was also registered against an unknown police vehicle.

“An FIR was registered on Sunday morning after the priest was knocked down by a police vehicle. But the vehicle does not belong to Sukhdeonagar police station,” he said.