SIRAHA, May 30: Over 50 persons including six policemen were injured in a clash in Bastipur, Siraha on Wednesday. The clash ensued after the police intervened in a protest staged by locals along the East-West Highway demanding release of eight persons arrested on ´false abduction charge´.
Principal of Janasewa Higher Secondary School, Karjanha Laxmi Hai and seven others were arrested from the district court premises on Tuesday on the charge of kidnapping two witnesses in a land dispute involving the school and its donors.
One Ram Charitra Mahato had donated three bighas of land to the school 48 years ago but Mahato´s son Ram Babu and grandson Ajit have now moved the court claiming ownership of the land which now costs up to a million rupees per kattha.
Siraha Police chief Rajesh Lal Karna said the eight, including the principal, were arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by the Mahatos who claimed that witnesses Ram Bharos Sharma Thakur and Deepak Dhamala were abducted by the school establishment.
The irate locals, who had asked the police to release the eight by Wednesday morning, gathered in hundreds and blocked the East-West Highway at Golbazar from 9:30 in the morning after the police did not release the eight.
The clash started after police used force to open the highway but the administration claimed that the locals first attacked the police. Locals accused the police of entering houses and thrashing even the women. Local correspondent of News24 television Ganesh Sah and Guru Sharan Sada of local Anukalpa daily were also thrashed by the police for filming the incident.
Chief District Officer (CDO) Dhruba Prasad Dhakal said police fired 16 rounds in the air and two tear gas shells to take the situation under control. One Jagadish Mahato of Karjanha-3 was critically injured in the clash and has been taken to Neuro Hospital in Biratnagar for treatment.
The other injured are being treated at Phool Kumari Memorial Hospital in Karjanha and at Mirchaiya Hospital.