Munger firing: Election Commission removes SP, DM amid violent protests in the town

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New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday (October 29) took action in the Munger violence case and removed the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police. The poll panel also ordered an inquiry into the firing and stone-pelting during the immersion of an idol of goddess Durga late Monday night in which one person had died and several others were injured.

The Election Commission asked Magadh Divisional Commissioner Asangba Chuba Ao to complete the probe within a week.

Munger District Magistrate Rajesh Meena (2012-batch IAS officer) has been transferred to the General Administration Department (GAD), while SP Lipi Sigh (2016-batch IPS officer) has been moved to the state police headquarters, the Home Department said. IPS officer Lipi Singh is the daughter of RCP Singh, the JD(U) leader in the Rajya Sabha. 

Hours later, the Bihar government, on the instructions of the Election Commission, named 2010-batch IAS officer Rachna Patil as the new District Magistrate and 2009-batch IPS officer Manavjit Singh Dhillon as new SP. Patil was working as a Registrar of Cooperative Societies in the Cooperative Department, while Dhillon was a Special Task Force SP.

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Earlier in the day, a group of protesters today went on the rampage in the town, setting some police stations and outposts on fire and ransacking the SP and the SDO offices. The agitators were enraged as no action was taken against the SP and other police personnel over the Monday night incident.  

The agitators went berserk and reportedly tried to set Kotwali and Kasim Bazar police stations on fire, but there they were faced with strong resistance from the policemen who fired in the air to disperse the mob.

Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Jitendra Kumar told PTI-Bhasha in Patna that an extra police force has been sent to Munger. Deputy Inspector General of Police, Munger, Manu Maharaj led a flag march in Munger town to bring the situation under control.

The RJD-led Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) has strongly criticised the Monday incident, likening the district police with General Dyer of the infamous Jallianwala Bagh incident in Punjab during British rule on April 13, 1919.

The incident, which took place on the eve of the first phase of polling, had its impact on voting too as two of the three Assembly seats — Munger, Jamalpur — in the district witnessed lower voter turnout as compared to the 2015 polls.

Munger constituency had witnessed a poll percentage of 54.26 in 2015, but on Wednesday it recorded 47.89 per cent turnout. Similarly, the decline was from 49.70 per cent to 47.24 per cent in Jamalpur this time, but Tarapur recorded a polling percentage of 54.80 this time compared to 52.66 in 2015.

The police department has also ordered the removal of in-charges of Muffasil police station and Basudeopur outpost in connection with the October 26 firing and baton-charge incidents.

(With Agency Inputs)

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