In a midnight attack, heavily-armed suspected Maoists swooped down on a village in Bihar's Khagaria district and shot dead 16 villagers, mostly teenagers, after tying their hands and feet.
The gunmen pulled the victims out of their huts in Amosi Dharen Biara village, tied their hands and feet and fired at them, ADG Headquarters Neelmani said today.
"Around 100 people, suspected to be Maoists, armed with automatic weapons attacked the village and fired indiscriminately late last night," Inspector General (Operations) S K Bharadwaj said.
A dispute on cultivation of land is said to be reason behind the attack on the victims belonging to backward caste.
Neelmani said the attack was carried out on the villagers by the suspected naxalites with the intention of grabbing the land.
The victims belonged to Amdaicharua village and had been living in makeshift camps on the land, he said.
Senior police officials, IG Operations and IG Bhagalpur, are camping at the site and special task force has been deployed for combing operations in the riverine area to nab them, Neelmani said, adding police patrolling has been increased as tension prevailed in the area.
Bodies have been kept at Morkahi police station from where they would be sent to a government hospital for post-mortem. Most of the dead were teenagers. PTI
Lok Jan Shakti Party president Ramvilas Paswan demanded Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's resignation.
"The carnage has been sponsored by the state government in the name of giving protection to the Mahadalits (Mussahars). I hold the government responsible for it," Paswan told reporters before leaving for the spot.
Nitish Kumar should resign on moral grounds, he said.
The LJP chief sought a judicial probe by a retired chief justice of the Patna High Court into the killing at Amosi Bharen -- the area represented by his younger brother and state party President Pashupati Kumar Paras.
Paswan demanded that the state government immediately announce an ex-gratia of Rs ten lakh to each of the bereaved families and a government job to an eligible member of the families of the victims.
Had the state government been alert the carnage could have been averted as there was a prolonged altercation between the Kurmis and Koeris and the Mussahars in the area, he said.
Alleging that the crimegraph in Bihar was spiralling, Paswan said he would seek the Centre's intervention in the issue. PTI