Students ransack railway stations in Bihar over MNS attacks


Patna : Hundreds of students ransacked three railway stations, blocked rail traffic and clashed with the the police in towns across Bihar Saturday during a shutdown called to protest attacks on non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai. More than 1,000 students were arrested.

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Various student groups had given a call for a strike in Bihar to denounce the attacks by the Maharashtra Navnirnam Sena (MNS) on non-Maharashtrian candidates, mainly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, appearing for railway recruitment examinations in Mumbai.

Some student leaders were taken into custody early Saturday, police spokesperson Anil Sinha said. “In Patna alone, over 100 students were arrested,” a police official said.

The official said hundreds of students ransacked Darbhanga and Bettiah-Narkatiaganj railway stations. Some students also created trouble at the Lakhisarai railway station and blocked an express train at Buxar railway station.

“Police twice baton-charged the students at Darbhanga railway station but failed to disperse them,” a police official said.

Early Saturday students virtually laid siege to the Sheikhpura railway station, 100 km from here, and then ransacked it. Police used batons to disperse the students after being stoned, police officials said.

Reports of protests also came in from Gaya, Begusarai, Ara, Motihari and Muzaffarpur towns.

In Patna, the situation was calm, with heavy deployment of security forces. Traffic on the roads was normal, but most educational institutions remained closed. Anticipating trouble, the district administration had deployed extra police and security forces.

“We have deployed additional 5,000 police personnel and directed them to use force against trouble makers and not allow anyone to create violence,” Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar told IANS here.

On Wednesday, student organisations had asked ministers and MPs from Bihar to resign en masse over the issue.

On Friday, hundreds of slogan shouting students blocked roads and attempted to forcibly shut down shops in Patna.

The three days of widespread violent protests have affected at least 200 trains.

The railways started operating most trains from Patna and Danapur railway stations. But they continued to run behind schedule.

In the last five days, over half a dozen complaints have been filed across Bihar against MNS chief Raj Thackeray for the attacks against non-Maharashtrians.

The father of Pawan Kumar, a young man allegedly killed by MNS activists in Mumbai, filed a murder case against Thackeray Friday in the court of chief judicial magistrate in Biharsharif, about 100 km from here, court officials said.

Earlier, the police at Patna railway station filed a first information report (FIR) against Thackeray and his supporters for the assault on students from Bihar.