Patna, Nov. 19: A drunk police havildar opened fire from his service carbine and killed at least three persons after residents of Baagha village in Begusarai surrounded him for his alleged attempt to rape a widow by forcibly entering her house late last night.
In another incident at Munger early today, suspected members of the Krishna Yadav gang opened fire on the vehicle of a local Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and killed four.
The policeman, identified as Dinanath Tiwari, has been arrested, but violence erupted in Begusarai with mobs setting a police outpost and parts of the railway station on fire.
Sources in the town described the situation as 'very tense' even as director-general of police Narayan Mishra condemned the incident and appealed for peace. Mishra said the havildar will not be spared and criminal and departmental proceedings will begin against him shortly.
Tiwari, who was in an inebriated state, left the police station around 10 pm with his service weapon and tried to enter the house of Seema Devi, allegedly with the intention of raping her.
'He created a scene at the spot after the young woman and her mother-in-law resisted his attempt. Soon, scores of residents of the area surrounded Tiwari. When the havildar realised that he was trapped, he opened fire from his carbine,' a source said. The old woman and a child were killed on the spot while Seema Devi, who was rushed to Patna, died in a hospital there.
A large number of policemen in Bihar are permitted to carry their service weapons after duty hours as depositing and re-issuing arms every day is said to be a cumbersome exercise.
As news of the deaths spread this morning, mobs fanned out in different areas of the town. The railway station was damaged as a mob set the offices, cash, tickets and documents on fire. Train services on the section were disrupted. 'The Baagha police outpost was set on fire by another mob. Vehicles did not ply on the national highway as angry protesters blocked it near the station,' witnesses said.
A mob also tried to vandalise Town police station. Police lobbed teargas shells and also opened fire injuring at least four persons.
Villagers accused the havildar of misbehaving with the widow. 'The woman's house is half-broken and has no doors. No one could imagine that one would do this to her on the holy night of Chhat,' said Ram Sogarath, who claimed to have caught Tiwari.
In the Munger incident, suspected members of the Krishna Yadav gang targeted local RJD leader Sanjay Yadav while he was returning after performing Chhat. Sanjay, his brother Pramod, their driver and another person died in the attack.
Deputy superintendent of police Ranjan Sinha said personal enmity between Sanjay Yadav and Krishna Yadav was the cause of the killing that occurred at Pathan in Jamalpur block. Five persons, who sustained injuries in the attack, have been admitted in the subdivisional hospital at Munger.
Chief minister Rabri Devi expressed shock and directed the DGP to initiate stringent action against the havildar. She also announced compensation and security for the members of the families of those killed in the two incidents.
Railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav said stringent action would be taken against those who damaged rail property at Begusarai.