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At least four people were killed and more than six were injured in clashes between police and protesters under Barkagaon police station area of Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand on Saturday. An Additional Superintendent of Police (Operations) and a Circle Officer were seriously injured after being abducted and assaulted by the mob. Their vehicles were also torched.
The incident occurred in the aftermath of the arrest of Congress MLA from Barkagaon, Nirmala Devi, on the early hours of Saturday morning, who was leading a protest against a coal mining project for an NTPC power plant, the police said.
Additional reinforcements have been sent in and senior officials are camping at the spot. The violence has stopped, but the situation remained tense, the police said. According to the police, Nirmala Devi had been leading the protest which they called “kafan satyagarah” even as the administration had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Jharkhand Police spokesperson and IG (Operations), M S Bhatia, said, “The police arrested Nirmala Devi this morning around 6 am from Chirudih village, where she was protesting, as the work of the NTPC was getting affected. On the way, at a place called Dandi Kala, a mob of around 100 people surrounded her vehicle and two escort vehicles and got Nirmala Devi forcibly released. The mob also abducted Additional SP (Operations) Kuldeep and the Circle Officer of Barkagaon, and badly assaulted them after taking them to the nearby fields.
Bhatia added that the police opened fire in self-defence. According to initial reports, two persons had died in the firing. “Now, we have got reports that at least four persons have died. Additional SP and CO are being brought to Ranchi for better treatment through helicopters. At least six policemen and several protesters were also injured,” he said.
“The entire top brass of Hazaribagh is camping at the spot. Section 144 is being strictly implemented. The violence has stopped. Further probe is on,” said Bhatia.