The death toll in the violence on the streets of Ranchi Friday climbed to two after another person died of bullet injuries in the early hours of Saturday. Police have identified the dead as 20-year-old Sahil, and 15-year-old Mudassir Alam who was awaiting the results of the Class X board examinations.
The Hemant Soren government, a coalition led by the JMM and Congress, has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident and circumstances which led to “firing” by police on crowds protesting remarks against the Prophet by the now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
SP (Rural) Naushad Alam told The Sunday Express: “Around 13 people were injured, some in stone-pelting, some had bullet injuries. SP City will give the exact figure.” The SP City did not respond to calls seeking comments.
Dr Hirendra Birua, Superintendent of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), said, “A total of 10 people were admitted to RIMS who had sustained bullet injuries during the mob violence. Two have since died and one remains critical. The rest seem to be out of danger.”
SSP Surendra Jha sustained head injuries. A police constable too has a bullet injury.
The government ordered complete Internet shutdown following “rumour mongering”. Video clips on social media showed how police fired on protesters.
JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattarcharya said an inquiry had been ordered. “Every angle will be investigated — from videos circulating on social media where police are seen firing on the crowd to what led to police failure in containing the violence. However, police resorted to firing because the situation was very harsh.”
A government source said the Home Department issued an order Saturday, forming a two-member probe committee – it comprises Principal Secretary Disaster Management Amitabh Kaushal, Jharkhand Police ADG (Ops) Sanjay Lathkar. It has been asked to submit a report in seven days.
State BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Deepak Prakash told The Sunday Express, “The entire sequence of events is a complete failure of the state government.”
Meanwhile, two RAF companies have been called in and more than 2,000 police personnel have been deployed at 12 points around the Main Road area where the violence took place. The area was peaceful Saturday.
Relatives and neighbours of Sahil and Muddassir, who died of bullet wounds, are grief-stricken and have been in mourning.
Salauddin, a former ward commissioner and neighbour of Sahil, said, “Sahil studied up to intermediate and used to work in a mobile shop. His father is an auto driver and the family is in complete shock. He sustained a bullet injury in the stomach. His last rites were performed at 3 pm today. We have demanded compensation from the government. We have asked on whose orders did the police open fire.”
The second person to die was 15-year-old Mudassir Alam, awaiting his Class X results. His uncle Mohammad Sahid Ayyubi said, “The government failed us. What was the reason to fire and was that the only option with the police? The government needs to answer and the culprits should be booked.”
“We don’t even know how he became part of the mob. He was shot in the head. His father works as a labourer and he was the only child of his parents. We have asked for compensation,” he said.