Two people of the Musahar community — designated as a Scheduled Caste — were shot dead and three others were injured over a land dispute in Chandpur Bhangaha village of Purnea district on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, police said.
According to them, the incident took place at around 3 am on Saturday when several armed people attacked the home of a family and assaulted five of its members before shooting two of them. The victims were identified as Anmol Rishi (50) and Subodh Rishi (45) — both daily wage workers. They reportedly succumbed to injuries while being taken to the hospital.
Banmankhi sub-divisional police officer Vibhash Kumar said: “Prima facie, it looks to be a case of land dispute. The victims, cousins, had been possessing a four acre piece of land which some other villagers claimed their as own… We are trying to identify the attackers.”
A case has been filed against unknown people under relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as well as provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Ramesh Rishi, a resident of the village, said some influential villagers had been threatening Rishi families to vacate the four-acre area of land where they had raised their houses and had been living for years. “Anmol and Subodh had been opposing upper caste families of the village in their bid to get the land vacated, they were targeted,” he said.
Purnea Superintendent of Police Vishal Sharma told The Indian Express: “The suspects are also missing after the incident. No arrests have been made so far. We are carrying our searches.”