Life was thrown out of gear in Begusarai, where the anti-quota activists blocked National Highways 28 and 31 for several hours in the morning.
More than 100 people were taken into custody from various parts of the state after clashes broke out between the supporters of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ and pro-reservation groups, officials said. A nationwide ‘bandh’ was called today by several groups, who are opposed to the caste-based reservations in education and jobs, largely through social media. Deputy Superintendent of Police Mithilesh Kumar said Lakho outpost in-charge Balmukund and a reporter of a local newspaper were among those injured in the violence.
Normal life was hit in parts of Bihar, with ‘bandh’ supporters squatting on railway tracks near Ara, Bihiya and Koilwar stations to stop train services. Of the 100 people detained, 70 were from Ara, the district headquarters town of Bhojpur, an official said. A few ‘bandh’ supporters alleged that police opened fire in Anandpuri and Shivganj localities, but Deputy Superintendent of Police Mithilesh Kumar did not confirm the incident. Around 20 people were arrested in Gaya, where the ‘bandh’ supporters allegedly indulged in aggressive slogan-shouting and stone-pelting. The police resorted to lathicharge and fired gunshots in the air to quell the mobs in the region.
Life was thrown out of gear in Begusarai, where the anti-quota activists blocked National Highways 28 and 31 for several hours in the morning. In Vaishali, the bandh supporters waylaid the cavalcade of Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha and misbehaved with him for his pro-reservation stance, official sources said. “No FIR was lodged by the ministers or his staff. But we will register a case based on the inputs we receive from video footages,” Vaishali Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kumar said.
The general secretary of RSLP, Madhaw Anand, issued a statement, condemning the attack on Kushwaha. “It was carried out by those who believe in feudalism and Manuvaad. Such cowardly acts will never deter us from fighting for social and political equality,” he said. The activists also forced shopkeepers to down shutters at Chhata Chowk, Mithanpura, Ahiyapur and Bhagwanpur areas of Muzaffarpur district. A conflict broke out between two groups of students at the RDS College in the district, where a senior professor was seriously injured as he tried to pacify the agitated youth.