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Bihar: Left Parties Demand Probe into Killing of 2 Protesters in Alleged Police Firing in Katihar

The CPI(M) and CPI(ML), who are ruling Mahagathbandhan allies, condemned the incident, as the victims were protesting against erratic power supply.

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Patna: A day after two people were allegedly killed in police firing during a protest against irregular or poor power supply in Bihar's Katihar district, ruling Mahagathbandhan allies -- the  Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation (CPI(ML) -- condemned the incident and demanded a probe into it.

According to officials of the Katihar district administration, hundreds of \people from dozens of gram panchayats gathered at Barsaoi block town, staged a dharna, blocked roads, and a group of protestors forcibly entered the local electricity department office and ransacked it. They were protesting against poor power supply. The police then lathi-charged to disperse them, in which few protestors were reportedly injured.

Angry over police action, the protesters allegedly pelted stones at policemen. Less than a dozen, the police claimed it “sensed the aggressive mood” of the protesters and opened fire to save themselves. In the police firing that ensued, two people died, and two were injured.

The two victims, one young man identified as Mohammad Khurshid, was killed on the spot after a bullet hit him, and another youth Sonu Kumar Shah succumbed to serious injuries in the head during treatment at the government hospital.

Local protestors said that the power supply was interrupted from early morning to evening due to ongoing maintenance work since last month, and electricity officials refused to take note of people's demands to ensure minimum power cuts during summer.

CPI(M) state secretary Lalan Choudhary said the killing of two youths protesting against poor power supply in Barsoi in police firing was unfortunate. Police action against protesters was condemnable.

The CPI(M) leader pointed out that hot weather in July and the ongoing long dry spell during monsoon created more demand for power supply by people. In contrast, electricity supply companies have failed to fulfil an adequate supply of power. This resulted in anger among people. "Our party demands a high-level probe into police firing and compensation to victims," Choudhary said.

Mahboob Alam, CPI(ML) legislature, condemned the killing of two innocent youths in police firing. Alam said it was a failure of the state government. "We demand a probe into it and action against police officials responsible for it, he said.

CPI(ML) state secretary Kunal said a team of the party will visit Barsoi soon to enquire into the incident. Kunal said Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders have been playing politics after police firing to defame party MLA Mahboob Alam.

Bihar Social Welfare Minister Madan Sahni told media here that government would take action against officials responsible for it after a probe. Senior Janata Dal (United)  (JD-U) leader Sahni said the government would investigate all aspects of police firing.

Earlier, senior JD-U leader and Bihar Energy Minister Vijendar Yadav's statement after police firing that police will take action if people create trouble raised many eyebrows.

Opposition BJP leaders attacked Yadav for justifying the police action and demanded a case against him.

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