1 Killed, Many Injured in Firing During Durga Idol Immersion in Munger District of Poll-Bound Bihar

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A man was killed and over two dozen people, including security personnel, were injured in firing and stone-pelting following a clash during the immersion of a Durga idol in Bihar’s Munger district on Monday.

The state will see its first phase of Assembly elections on Wednesday, Munger being one of the districts to vote during the day.

Police said the incident happened late Monday night at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Chowk under the Kotwali police station limits of the city. According to reports, at least 27 people suffered injuries.

While people alleged the young man, who was in his early 20s, died in police firing, the administration said he was hit by a bullet fired by somebody from among the crowd.

Superintendent of Police (Munger) Lipi Singh said some anti-social elements restored to stone pelting that injured 20 policemen after which someone from the crowd fired leading to one person's death. "We are conducting flag marches across the city. The situation is under control. We are keeping an eye on antisocial elements. Dont pay attention to any kind of rumour," she said.

The deceased was identified as Anurag Poddar. The violence reportedly erupted after an argument between volunteers and local police personnel over taking an idol for immersion. When the situation intensified, the police reportedly also fired.

Coming on the eve of polling in the first phase of assembly elections, the incident drew political reactions with LJP president Chirag Paswan demanding strong action against Singh.

"A 302 (murder) case should be registered against the Munger Police. Firing on devotees shows Nitish's is a Talibani regime. The local SP should be suspended immediately and an FIR registered against her under section 302 (murder)," he tweeted. He demanded Rs 50 lakh ex gratia and a government job for the kin of the deceased.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the Election Commission should take cognisance of the incident and initiate action against the culprits. Munger District Magistrate Rajesh Meena said the police were also fired on. The DM and the district police chief visited the area and said the situation was under control.

A purported video of the incident shows security personnel baton-charging a group of people in the immersion procession. Also a disturbing image has been circulating on social media which shows the man purportedly killed in the incident lying motionless on the ground with his head split open. Among the police personnel injured are: Sangrampur police station SHO Sarvjeet Kumar, Kotwali SHO Santosh Kumar Singh, Kashim Bazaar SHO Shailesh Kumar and Basudevpur outpost incharge Sushil Kumar, police said.

Police said they have recovered three firearms, bullets and spent cartridges and added that some miscreants have been detained. Witnesses said the trouble started after a makeshift bamboo carrier broke down while carrying a Durga idol and it was taking time to repair it.

They said as the carrier was being repaired other idol processions got held up, leading to a pile-up. They said the administration wanted the procession to clear up quickly as the security personnel had to be deployed on election duty on Wednesday.