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Seven injured in attack on minister

Patna, July 30: At least seven persons were injured when supporters of animal husbandry and fisheries minister Baidyanath Sahni reportedly opened fire and pelted stones to disperse a mob, which had taken the minister “hostage”, in Samastipur district on Wednesday.

The injured persons — Shyam Babu Singh, Kanchan, Lal Babu Singh, Butan Das, Lakhindra Singh, Vishwanath Singh and Lakhinder Rai — have been admitted to the local Sadar hospital. The mob also damaged the minister’s vehicle and set a tractor and eight motorcycles on fire.

The incident took place when Sahni had gone to Nikaspur village in Morba block for “bhumi pujan” on a plot of land, which he had apparently purchased recently for opening a petrol pump. A group of local residents alleged that the minister got the land registered fraudulently as the land was donated for setting up a college.

Initially, the minister tried to pacify the agitators, whose number swelled to over 1,000. The agitators pelted the minister’s car with stones and allegedly confined him in a room of a nearby academic institute. The supporters of the minister allegedly opened fire and indulged in stone pelting to rescue Sahni.

On being informed, Samastipur district magistrate Ramchandra Du and superintendent of police Babu Ram rushed to the spot and pacified the agitators.

The mob dispersed only after the district magistrate assured that the registration deed of the land would be cancelled and the proposed petrol pump would not be installed on the land.

SP Ram confirmed that some people suffered serious injuries in stone pelting. He, however, denied the report of bomb explosion and firing. “The accusations against the minister that he had come to the site with armed men are being verified,” he said.

Tension has gripped the area following the incident. The minister later said: “Had the administration not been cautious, I would fall victim to the mob fury. Alert cops saved me and rescued from the clutches of the people.”


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