| Police try to pacify people in Majorganj on Wednesday. Picture by Lokesh Bihari |
The murder of a hotel owner triggered an attack on police, who the traders accused of failing to protect the community from extortionists.
Sanjay Kumar, a 32-year-old hotel owner in Sitamarhi district’s Majorganj, was shot dead late on Tuesday night. He was rushed to a government hospital in Sitamarhi, about 150km north of Patna, around 11.30pm where he was declared dead. An FIR has been lodged. On Wednesday, the police earned the wrath of the residents and the traders with a couple of officers even getting beaten up.
Nirmal Kumar, a relative of Sanjay, said: “He was shot twice in the chest on Tuesday night. He died on the spot. Three criminals had called him on the cellphone and once Sanjay came out of his house in Mahabir Chowk, they shot him. He was rushed to a government hospital around 11.30pm but was declared brought dead.”
Sanjay owned a hotel at Marwari Chowk. He was married and had four children — three boys and a girl.
In protest against the murder, the traders downed their shutters on Wednesday and hit the streets. They protested against the police’s failure in protecting the trading community from extortionists.
Many also gathered in front of Sanjay’s house in Mahabir Chowk. They demanded the suspension of the Majorganj police station house officer Anam for his failure to curb the extortion menace.
Sub-inspector Santosh Kumar Sharma, along with five officers, arrived at Sanjay’s house in the morning to take stock of the situation. He attempted to disperse the huge number of sympathisers who had gathered at the spot to offer their condolences. But he faced the wrath of the people who held him captive for five hours and beat him up.
Another Majorganj sub-inspector, Arvind Kumar Singh, tried to rescue Sharma from the people and was also beaten up by the mob, which went on a rampage at Mahabir Chowk.
The mob pelted stones at the policemen and damaged a police vehicle before trying to set it on fire. Sharma was freed only after the intervention of senior police officers in the district, including superintendent of police Pankaj Kumar.
Pankaj assured the people of arresting Sanjay’s killers within 48 hours.
He added: “The volatile situation has been brought under control. The traders, who were protesting, have been persuaded to shun violence on the streets. A named FIR has been lodged at Majorganj police station against six persons in Sanjay’s murder based on the family’s statement.”
Another police officer said: “Investigation is in progress. The police have launched a manhunt for the killers along the porous India-Nepal border. It is feared that the killers escaped to Nepal.”