October 20, 2020

Dalit man shot dead over dance at wedding in Muzaffarpur

Patna: Celebratory firing in a wedding ceremony cost the life of a 20-year-old Mahadalit youth at a village under the jurisdiction of Saraiya police station in Muzaffarpur, leading to violent clashes, loot and arson, late on Wednesday night.

Police said on Thursday that a youth identified as Navin Manjhi was killed when the members of a baraat (wedding party) opened fire as a mark of celebration at Abhichhapra village under the jurisdiction of Sariaya police station in Muzaffarpur, around 60km north of Patna.

Irked over the death of Manjhi, family members and relatives of the deceased, including women, attacked the house of Nand Kishore Rai, brutally assaulted the bride Pinki Kumari, the bridegroom and members of the wedding party. The protesters later set at least seven four-wheelers and nine motorbikes on fire.

The protesters didn’t stop there. They raided the houses of Rai’s three neighbours and looted cash and other valuables. The baraat had come from Bajitpur village under the jurisdiction of Paroo police station in Muzaffarpur district. The dingdong battle, which stared around 9pm,continued till early morning (4am).

Saraiya sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Shankar Kumar Jha said the trouble started after some residents of Musahar Toli (hamlet) stopped the DJ when the baraat was heading for the wedding venue. They not only asked the dancers to play the music of their choice but also showed their willingness to dance on some Bhojpuri numbers.

In the process, a member of the baraat party opened fire, causing injuries to Navin. He died on the spot. As the news spread like wildfire, the Mahadalits assembled at a place and chalked out a strategy to retaliate the incident. At least two dozen persons suffered injuries in the attack and were undergoing treatment at a private nursing home.

SDPO Jha said police personnel from Paroo police station and Ajipur police outpost were rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. The district administration had to call the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Sahashtra Seema Bal to bring the situation under control, he added.

The police officials said three FIRs would be lodged. The first FIR will be related to the youth’s murder, the second will deal with the attack on the houses of people of different community and the third FIR will be lodged for damage of property by a mob.

The deceased’s father Basudev Manjhi said Mukesh Kumar, stated to be a cousin of the bride Pinki Kumari, killed his son Navin following a dispute over blaring of Bhojpuri numbers. Basudev, however, claimed that the bride’s family members were so aggressive that they killed his son over a trivial issue.

Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harpreet Kaur said additional armed forces have been deployed at the village to prevent any untoward incident. She admitted that the incident has led to caste tension at the village. “We are alert and have taken all precautionary measures,” she told The Telegraph over phone on Thursday.

Celebratory firing in marriages is not a new phenomenon in Bihar.

At least five persons have been killed in the state in celebratory firing since January this year. Most of the incidents were reported from Bhojpur and Rohtas districts in south-central Bihar.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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