The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dalit death heat on cops

Patna, Nov. 2: The bogey of Dalit politics has been resurrected with Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan threatening to launch an agitation if immediate action is not taken against police officials allegedly responsible for the death of a 37-year-old mechanic.

Om Prakash alias K.B. Paswan, an electrical mechanic, was found dead in a marsh in Rukanpura last Wednesday reportedly with bruises on his body. The resident of Danapur was missing since Tuesday evening, according to family members.

Prakash was working in houses in Rukanpura, under Danapur police station, on Tuesday, according to Baswani Devi, a relative. Around 8 pm, he had gone to a roadside tea stall near which a group of residents had put up a roadblock to collect money for chhat puja.

A team of police officers led by Promod Kumar, the inspector of the police station, soon reached the area and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the group. “When we heard about the police action, we began to search for Prakash. We also went to the police station to look for him when he had not returned till late at night. But the police said they were not aware of anybody called Prakash,” said Baswani Devi.

Next day, Prakash’s body was found in a low-lying area about 3 km from the place of the lathicharge, said his brother Satyaram Paswan. Residents of Danapur launched an agitation on Friday over the alleged killing of the Dalit by the police. They also hurled stones at police personnel who had gone for investigations and prevented them from entering the area.

The ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress leaders have visited the area and met the relatives of the victim. However, the largest group of politicians was led by Paswan. The Lok Janshakti leader met the victim’s relatives and threatened to launch an agitation.

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