Kahalgaon: A person was hit by a bullet and at least six others were injured when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel guarding the NTPC Kahalgaon plant in Bhagalpur district opened fire on a protesting mob on Wednesday morning.
The spark for the clash between the villagers and the CISF unit was the death by snakebite of Subodh Yadav (28), an on-contract labourer at Puja Enterprises, a private company that works with the NTPC plant, around 265km east of Patna.
Subodh lived in Jamunia Tola Khurhari, a village where the people displaced by the power plant have been rehabilitated. The village is hardly 1km from the power plant.
According to the villagers, Subodh was taken to the NTPC hospital but his family members were told to take him to JLNMC hospital, Bhagalpur.
“The NTPC hospital doesn’t have any anti-snakebite medicine despite the fact that the hospital frequently witnesses many snakebite cases,” said Chand Kumar, a local resident.
According to him, Subodh died on way to Bhagalpur on Tuesday night.
The trouble began on Wednesday morning when the villagers blocked gate No. 1 of the Kahalgaon plant with Subodh’s body.
“The CISF personnel started beating up the villagers with canes,” said an eyewitness. “The mob outside gate No. 1 then hurled bricks at the plant premises. A group also started throwing bricks at the official residence of the CISF’s commander Dilip Kumar which is located inside the NTPC premises.”
According to the villagers, a group of armed CISF personnel then chased the mob into the village and opened fire, in which Sushil Yadav (25) sustained injury to his left armpit. “They also started thrashing the villagers who were in their houses,” said Ram Sakal Yadav, local resident. “Manki Devi, a 61-year-old old lady, Mala Devi and Ram Sevak Yadav sustained serious injuries and were later admitted to the local hospital. Three-four more persons were also injured.”
Many villagers alleged that the CISF personnel fired six to seven rounds at the village.
Bhagalpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Ashish Bharti, who rushed to NTPC Kahalgaon along with district magistrate (DM) Pranav Kumar, however, told The Telegraph that the CISF personnel had opened fire to save their men from the stone-pelting mob.
The CCTV footages have been seized for investigation, the SSP said.
DM Pranav Kumar told reporters that the CISF fired two rounds, and an order for an inquiry had been issued.
Injured Sushil, who was rushed to JLNMC hospital, was referred to Patna due to his serious condition. However, when no ambulance could be found, the local police station house officer Rohit Singh gave Rs 5,000 to Sushil’s family members for hiring a private vehicle for Patna at around 4pm.
No officer from the NTPC was available for comment. The public relations officer Sourav Kumar told this correspondent to speak with Prabhat Ram, head of HR, but several calls on Ram’s mobile phone went unanswered.
CISF sources said six personnel, including head constable Mahendra Sahani, were injured in the stone pelting and admitted to the NTPC hospital.
Courtesy: The Telegraph