Clashes during the immersion of Goddess Durga

News Desk: An 18-year-old man was shot dead and some people were injured in firing after clashes during the immersion of Goddess Durga on Monday in Bihar’s Munger. A video showing a police lathi-charge on a group carrying a Durga idol, widely circulated online, has sparked anger just a day before voting begins in the state for a new government.

A disturbing image that has emerged after the incident is that of a young man dead on the ground, his head split open.

The police claim during the immersion of Durga idols last evening, some “anti-social elements” targeted the police and threw stones at them. Violence reportedly erupted following a row between volunteers taking an idol for immersion and the police, which accused the group of delaying the process. The stone-throwing led to a lathicharge. When the situation escalated, the police reportedly also fired.

“During Durga puja immersion, some anti-social elements resorted to stone-pelting which left 20 policemen injured. After this someone from the crowd fired, leading to one death. The situation is under control,” said Lipi Singh, Superintendent of Police, Munger.

Some officials claimed policemen were also fired upon. “Rumours were spread and attempts were made to vitiate the atmosphere after the incident,” said an official, adding that three pistols, bullets and cartridges were found.

“There were attempts to falsely accuse the police of beating up people. The situation is peaceful now. We are trying to identify the accused,” he said.

The man who died was identified as Anurag Poddar.

Among those who tweeted on the incident was Chirag Paswan, whose party is fighting against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar despite being a part of the National Democratic Alliance.

“Munger police should be charged with murder. Devotees were fired upon in the ‘Taliban-like’ rule of Nitish Kumar. The area Superintendent of Police should be immediately suspended and an FIR should be registered. The family of the victim should be given Rs 50 lakh and a government job,” Chirag Paswan tweeted, targeting the Chief Minister.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi called the incident “unfortunate” and said the Election Commission should investigate and take action.