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Sand mafia fire at police

Patna: Sand mafia opened fire at a police team that had gone to inspect if illegal mining was on along the Sone river in Bihta on Wednesday, the day chief minister Nitish Kumar reviewed the law and order situation in the state.

Acting on information that illegal sand mining was going on, a team from Bihta police station went to conduct raids on the banks of the Sone river. But on seeing the police team, the mafia opened fire.

"The police team had received a tip that illegal sand mining was going on there," a police officer from Bihta police station said on the condition of anonymity. "Sand mining was on in the middle of the river. On seeing the police, the mafia tried to escape and when the police gave chase, one of them opened fire at the police team." Bihta police, in retaliation, fired at the sand mafia.

The sand mafia fired around 11 rounds and the police two rounds. But nobody was injured. When the police chased the mafia they left in a boat. The police have arrested 11 persons in this connection.

Danapur sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Manoj Kumar Tiwari said: "As the sand mafia was carrying out illegal mining in the middle of the river, it is a challenging task for the police to conduct raids." Tiwari said.

"The arrested persons are from Haldi Chappra village in Bihta area. The police will continue its operation against the sand mafia in the coming days." Illegal sand mining on the Ganga and Sone has always remained a challenging issue for Patna police.

As per mining laws, mining on the river bed is prohibited during monsoon, from July 1 to September 30.

Many a time, it has been observed that sand mafia involved in illegal mining make huge profits.

A tractor full of sand (around 100 cubic feet) that normally costs Rs 2,600-3,000, is sold for Rs 6,000-6,500 during this time. Time and again, the police carry out raids against the illegal sand mafia.

Patna police have issued instructions to all station house officers (SHOs) to carry out raids against the sand mafia.

Last month, Patna police removed Didargang police station house officer (SHO) Lakshman Prasad and Malsalami police SHO Prem Raj Chauhan.

Also, officers from two police stations, from the rank of constable to sub-inspector, were removed as there were complaints of illegal sand-mining going on unabated at these police stations.

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