ABVP protest turns violent, nearly 100 injured
Police fired in the air and resorted to a baton charge on Thursday to disperse ABVP members who pelted stones at police during a protest near the Bihar assembly against the prevailing education scenario in the state. Nearly 100 people were injured while a similar number of ABVP activists were detained.
Demanding a high-level probe into the police action, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has announced a Bihar bandh (shutdown) on March 30 to protest against the incident.
The protest turned violent when ABVP activists with saffron flags in their hands started pelting stones at police and later broke open a huge iron gate at the R-Block near the state assembly.
"Police resorted to a baton charge and opened fire in the air to disperse the ABVP members," a district official said.
Nearly 100 ABVP members were detained for attacking police and violating Section 144 - which bans unlawful assembly.
Later, some ABVP activists, angered at the police action, attacked members of the public, targeted vehicles and tried to ransack some shops in many parts of Patna.
Some ABVP members looted fruit vendors and attacked shops near the Patna railway station, police said.
Bihar's Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said the violent protest was part of the ABVP's "pre-planned strategy to create trouble".
Following the police action against the ABVP activists, over a dozen Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators staged a protest outside the assembly.
Some BJP legislators also clashed with police, but were later calmed down by their colleagues.
The BJP legislators also raised the issue in the assembly and blamed police for the violence.
Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav said the police action would prove costly for the Nitish Kumar government.
Over four dozen policemen, nearly 50 ABVP members and some media persons were injured in the violence.
In view of the tension, additional security forces have been deployed to keep the protesters in control, Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Jitendra Rana said.
"All the injured, including 13 policemen and ABVP members, have been admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital," Rana said.
He said some policemen with serious injuries were admitted to an intensive care unit.
Condemning such violent protests, Neeraj Kumar, spokesperson of the ruling Janata Dal-United, said people have a right to protest in a democracy but not in the way the ABVP activists looted poor vendors on the pavements, attacked people on the roads and damaged vehicles. - IANS