Tension gripped the Sadar subdivision of Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district Wednesday after half-a-dozen Bajrang Dal activists were injured in stone-pelting. In another incident in the area, the Zila Parishad chairperson’s husband and his driver were shot at. Police have said the two incidents were not related and have clamped Section 144 of CrPC to prevent any untoward incident. Heavy force has been deployed. Police said the stone-pelting took place around 10 am when a bus occupied by Bajrang Dal activists was on Zakir Hussain Road. It was on its way to Dhanbad.
Some reports said the activists raised slogans in the name of Ram which members of another community found objectionable. Some members of the minority community stopped the bus and an altercation followed, leading to stone-pelting, which left the driver and six activists injured. DC Ravi Shankar Shukla said: “An FIR has been lodged and half-a-dozen people arrested. Reasons behind the stone-pelting are being ascertained. There are different versions. One says the altercation broke out when the bus brushed past another vehicle.” While the activists are learnt to have alleged that the stone-pelting was planned, Shukla said: “There is no evidence to suggest that.”
In the other incident, unidentified persons fired at a vehicle in which Lakhan Sao, husband of Zila Parishad chairperson Sushila Devi, was travelling. The firing took place around 2 pm at Sardar Chowk, about 1 km away from the site of stone-pelting. When local residents raised an alarm, the assailants fled, leaving their vehicle and an AK-47 behind. “More than 20 rounds were fired. This appears to be a case of gang war. We are probing further,” SP Anoop Birthare said. Police said Sao and his driver Dharmendra took at least three bullets each, but are reported to be stable.
Officials trashed rumours suggesting that the incidents were related and the exchange of fire took place between two communities. Probe has revealed that Sao earlier worked for Sushil Srivastava, a mafia who was murdered. Later, he branched out. “The possibility of Srivastava’s gang targeting him can’t be ruled out,” said Shukla.