Patna: Hundreds of jewellery shops in Patna remained closed on Saturday and shopkeepers took out a protest march demanding security for them. Angry protestors shouted slogans against the local police and the National Democratic Alliance government led by Nitish Kumar over its failure to protect them.
Jewellery shops in Bakerganj, Bihar’s biggest jewellery business hub, shut down for the second consecutive day on the call given by the Sarrafa Sangh, a day after armed criminals looted a jewellery shop in the area in the heart of Patna.
“We are scared, as this was the second case of a jewellery shop being looted at gunpoint in broad daylight within three days here”, Suresh Kumar, a protesting jewellery shopkeeper.
Another shopkeeper Rupesh Kumar said jewellery shops had become soft targets for armed criminals due to the police’s failure to protect them. “We are helpless and are living under fear. Any of us can become the next target”, he added.
Some protesting shopkeepers threatened to shut their business and hand over keys to the administration if the government does not provide security to them. “How can we operate our business in such a situation of terror”, they said.
A shopkeeper was shot and injured by armed criminals in broad daylight last Wednesday in Rajeev Nagar locality here. This incident was allegedly connected with an extortion demand. Such cases reflect a ground reality – that criminals are getting a free run as the police is failing to keep a check on them, said some protesters.
The shopkeepers said they had informed the Patna District Magistrate Chandrasekhar Singh and senior Superintendent of Police Manavjeet Singh Dhillon that their complaints were not taken seriously by local police officials.
Notably, the Opposition Mahagathbandhan leaders have, time and again, pointed out that as police officials have been deployed to implement prohibition in the dry state, law and order is facing neglect, which has resulted in a surge of crimes across the state.
Terming it as “total collapse” of law and order in the state, with reports of murder, rape, loot, extortion, kidnapping making headlines every day, the Opposition said the fear of lawlessness was haunting the common man in Bihar again.
There have been instances of the powerful liquor mafia attacking the police. The sand mafia allegedly killed two people on Friday.
It appears that the self-proclaimed “double engine” government led by Nitish Kumar, who hardly misses an opportunity to remind people that he has established the rule of law in Bihar, is failing on that very front.