Curfew in Gaur as violence flares

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RAUTAHAT, APR 05 – Tension ran high in Gaur, the district headquarters of Rautahat , on the fourth day of demonstrations on Saturday.

The locals resorted to violent protests over the death on Friday evening of a person who was hit by a police van during their demonstration against the decision to extend administrative services to Chandranigahpur.

The local administration responded by clamping a curfew in Gaur effective from 2pm but demonstrators did not heed the order. Six demonstrators were injured when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. More than 30 protesters and security personnel were injured in the clashes.

An Armed Police Force van accidentally hit Ram Ashish Thakur, 61, of Gaur-10, on Friday evening.

Critically injured Thakur later died at Gaur Hospital. Police said he was hit by the van as it tried to turn back after the demonstrators pelted it with stones.

The demonstrators were ready to call off the indefinite protest after the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday decided to revoke its decision to establish the branch offices in Chandranigahpur.

The enraged locals took to the streets in the morning, demanding martyr status for Thakur and compensation for the bereaved family. Sporadic clashes occurred between the police and the agitating locals throughout the day. The protesters set a police vehicle on fire. TheRautahat Chamber of Commerce and Industry has led the protests since Wednesday demanding reversal of the decision to establish branches of the District Land Revenue Office and the Survey Office in Chandranigahpur.

At press time on Saturday, there had been no headway in the talks between the agitators and the local administration.