| A devotee in Ranchi offers prayer to sun god on Saturday morning. Picture by Manik Bose
Ranchi, Nov. 17: The Chhath ghat of Hutar village, about 35km from the state capital, on Saturday witnessed bloodshed when four assailants shot dead two persons while they were offering prayers on the festive occasion. The wife of one of victims also sustained bullet injuries.
The deceased — Sanjay Tiwari (32) and Ajay Tewari (28) — were siblings. Sanjay, the elder of the two brothers, was the Bero block vice-president of Sadan Vikas Parishad (SVP), a social organisation.
The wife of Sanjay also sustained severe injuries as bullets hit her thigh and leg. She was rushed to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS). RIMS sources said her condition was stable, but was still unconscious.
Eyewitnesses told The Telegraph over telephone that the Tiwari brothers, along with other family members, had gone to the village pond to offer prayers to the rising sun on the occasion of Chhath. The four assailants had also come to the pond in the guise of devotees. Eyewitnesses said the armed criminals talked to Ajay for a while at the ghat and sat beside the road.
When Sanjay finished his prayers with his family members and was about to leave around 6am today, the criminals intercepted him.
“One of the four assailants stooped and touched the feet of Sanjay saying pranam. He gave them prasad and asked who they were. Within a jiffy, several rounds of gunshots were heard,” an eyewitness said.
The bullets hit Sanjay in the chest and he collapsed on the spot. When Ajay rushed to the rescue his elder brother, the assailants fired about six rounds at him. The bullets pierced through his stomach, killing him on the spot. When the wife of Sanjay ran towards her husband, the criminals fired at her, too.
“Who has killed the Tewaris and why, is still unclear. We are investigating into the matter,” said Ranchi senior superintendent of police M.S. Bhatia, who had rushed to Hutar after being informed about the incident.
The irate residents of Hutar village had blocked the Ranchi-Gumla highway for over seven hours. They also did not allow local police to send bodies of Sanjay and Ajay for autopsy till the senior superintendent of police and other senior officials reached the spot.
The SVP has demanded immediate arrest of the criminals. “We demand the state government to give Rs 10 lakh compensation for each victim. Two kin of the victims’ family should be given government job, too,” said Satya Prakash Mishra, the spokesperson of the SVP.
A 12-year-old girl died and 20 others sustained injuries when a gas cylinder used to inflate balloons burst today at a crowded ghat in Bihar’s Vaishali district, reports PTI.
The cylinder exploded at Chamrahra under Mahnar police station early this morning and rocketed more than 20 feet into the sky, the sources said.
Eleven persons were hospitalised at Mahnar.