Saturday, 2 June 2012

Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh arouses fear even in his death

PATNA/NEW DELHI: Brahmeshwar Singh, the chief of Bihar's outlawed militia of landlords, Ranvir Sena, was shot dead in Arrah on Friday by six unidentified gunmen, while he was taking a morning walk. The town, thereafter, erupted in violence. The police faced a horrid time in controlling irate supporters of Singh, who went on the rampage, targeting government establishments, setting ablaze vehicles and even roughing up director-general of police Abhayanand who rushed to Arrah.

Singh was on a morning stroll near his residence, under the Nawada police station, when motorbike borne gunmen shot him several times, killing him on the spot. As news spread across the town, thousands started converging to the spot. The mob was irked by alleged delay in the police team to reach the scene of murder. When the SP finally reached the residence of Singh, he had to confront an irate mob. Singh's supporters refused to hand over the body to the police for post-mortem and at one point demanded that chief minister Nitish Kumar visit the village. The DGP, however, persuaded Singh's kin to hand over the body to the police for post mortem.

The murder led to tension in Bhojpur and other adjoining districts. People fear a backlash and revival of internecine caste feuds, which was very much part of Bihar's polity from 1990 to 2001. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called upon the people of Bhojpur to maintain peace and harmony. Kumar, who is in Bhagalpur in connection with his Seva Yatra, said senior officials had been despatched to Arrah to help maintain law and order.

DGP Abhayanand constituted a high-level team led by deputy inspector-general of police Ajitabh Kumar to expedite the probe into the killing and submit a report within a month. However, JD(U)'s alliance partner, BJP, the opposition RJD, LJP and Congress demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident. "The incident could be part of larger gameplan to defame the state government. Political parties which have been marginalised may hope to exploit the incident, but they will not succeed," remarked JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari.

Although its state unit demanded a CBI probe, in New Delhi the Congress central leadership was guarded in its comments. CWC member Shakeel Ahmed told reporters that no one should play politics over the incident. A former Union minister, Ahmed is also a former PCC president of Bihar. He asked all responsible citizens and political parties to work together to ensure that the incident would not turn into a caste conflict.

Steering clear of the demand for a CBI probe into the matter, Ahmed however said, "there are no two opinions that such incidents put a question mark on the law and order in the state."

Union home secretary RK Singh will visit Bihar on Saturday to review the law and order. The home secretary, currently visiting Shillong, will travel to Patna directly in a pre-scheduled visit to review the law and order situation in Bihar. Friday's incident would figure in the review meeting with state government officials as the Centre considers the incident can have long-term law and order repercussions. 

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