BJP worker dies Patna protest

BJP worker dies during Patna protest :

The deceased has been identified as Vijay Kumar Singh, 46 years, who was the general secretary of the BJP’s Jehanabad unit.

Police action during the BJP protest in Patna on Thursday.

The ongoing showdown between the Nitish Kumar government and the Opposition in Bihar took a serious turn on Thursday when a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader died and several other party workers sustained injuries as the police resorted to force to break their march to the Vidhan Sabha building, where the state legislature was in session.

The deceased has been identified as Vijay Kumar Singh, 46 years, who was the general secretary of the BJP’s Jehanabad unit.

“Singh was brought in an unconscious state to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) where he died, hospital superintendent Dr I S Thakur said.

While BJP leaders have alleged that Singh died in the police lathi-charge, district administration in Patna was quick to put out a brief statement, asserting that “no injury marks” were found on his body.

The statement claimed Singh was found “in an unconscious state on the roadside in Chhajju Bagh locality” from where he was taken to PMCH, the state’s largest government hospital.

“He was admitted to the ICU, but died during treatment,” the PMCH superintendent said. The cause of the death could not be ascertained till post-mortem examination is conducted, another PMCH official said.

Meanwhile, union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai, a former Bihar BJP president, told reporters that the death of Vijay Singh during the protest march was a “sacrificial offering”.

BJP leaders claimed that more than 20 party workers are currently undergoing treatment at the PMCH, where the condition of a female worker is said to be serious.

“Many more are taking treatment at private hospitals. BJP MPs Janardan Singh Sigriwal and Ashok Kumar Yadav also suffered head injuries,” said state BJP spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel. 

BJP’s national president JP Nadda also weighed in. “The Grand Alliance government is attacking democracy to save the citadel of corruption. To save the person who has been charge-sheeted, the chief minister of Bihar has even forgotten his morality,” he tweeted, in an apparent reference to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Bihar’s deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav against whom the Central Bureau of Investigation has recently filed a charge sheet in the land-for-jobs case.

BJP’s protest march on Thursday was aimed at demanding Yadav’s exit from the Nitish Kumar government in view of the new charge sheet. The party has also blamed the state government for failing to create 10 lakh jobs that it had promised, besides “doing injustice” to government school teachers, who have been protesting with various demands.

Former deputy chief minister and BJP leader Sushil Modi, too, hit out at the government over the incident. “It is so unfortunate that one of our party workers died owing to lathi-charge by the police. He died on the way to the hospital. We will lodge a murder case against the police. Nitish Kumar is responsible for all this,” he told news agency ANI.

Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) president Chirag Paswan wondered if Bihar is currently under an “undeclared emergency”. “In the arrogance of power, the chief minister’s police took the life of an unarmed BJP worker fighting for the rights and rights of Biharis… if this is not an undeclared emergency in Bihar, then what else is?”

The ruling Janata Dal-United spokesperson, Neeraj Kumar, however, said BJP is frightened of lathi-charge, tear-gas and water cannons, but RSS (its ideological mentor) is known for giving lathi-charge training. “If BJP leaders take out march in prohibited area, similar action will be taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bihar BJP has announced ₹10 lakh in financial assistance to the next kin of Vijay Singh, a resident of Kalpakhurd village in Jehanabad.

State BJP president Samrat Choudhary told reporters that the party would observe Friday as black day. “We will fight against Nitish Kumar. It was a cold-blooded murder. BJP will march to Raj Bhawan on Friday. We will stage sit-ins in every district on Saturday. The administration was informed well in advance about out protest and no prohibitory orders were imposed,” he said.

Several prominent BJP leaders from Bihar, including union ministers Aswini Choubey and Nityanand Rai, Rajya Sabha member Sushil Modi and others visited PMCH and met injured workers.

Earlier in the day, the district administration detained BJP leaders Sanjay Paswan, Ram Kripal Yadav, Shahnawaj Hussain, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Samrat Choudhary, Nitin Navin and others but they were released after 5 pm.

Meanwhile, Patna (Sadar) subdivisional magistrate Shrikant Khandekar said, “We had to disperse them since they were given sufficient time to leave the area. Section 144 of the CrPC is in effect, so no one can carry out any kind of protest around Vidhan Sabha. Gardanibagh has been designated for protests.”