At least five persons were killed and 25 injured on Wednesday as violence and arson marred a dawn-to-dusk Jharkhand bandh called by the supporters of the state government's policy of giving preference to domiciled Jharkhandis in government jobs.
IG (Operation) R C Kaithal said three persons were killed when security guards of MECON opened fire after a mob damaged at least 80 vehicles parked in the premises of the public sector undertaking.
Kaithal said two persons died apparently in clashes between pro and anti-domicile groups.
Police fired several rounds in the air at Dhurva on the outskirts of capital Ranchi to disperse mobs armed with crude bombs after teargas shells fired by the Rapid Action Force proved ineffective, Home Secretary Suhma Singh said.
Bodyguards of Urban Development Minister Baccha Singh and Legislative Affairs Minister Ram Chandra Kesri fired in the air to scare away a group threatening to attack the ministers' residences, she added.
Mobs armed with swords, axes, bows and arrows and crude bombs roamed the streets the whole day defying prohibitory orders.
Train services in Dhanbad, Koderma and Hinu sections were disrupted as pro-domicile activists squatted on tracks at several points.
Streets in Ranchi wore a deserted look with shops and business establishments remaining shut.
Educational institutions too remained closed and government offices registered thin attendance.
Chief Minister Babulal Marandi has come under attack from both within his Cabinet and the opposition for his decision to give priority in government jobs to domiciled Jharkhandis.
Though he has clarified that this would apply only to Class III and IV grade jobs, the decision has divided the state.
Marandi is now under intense pressure from his ally -- the Samata Party to review the decision. Two former chief ministers of Bihar -- Laloo Prasad Yadav and Jagananth Mishra -- have also criticised his decision.
Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar and given statehood in August 2000.
EARLIER REPORTS:Jharkhand bandh disrupts normal life
12 injured as pro-domicile bandh turns violent: PTI
Domicile, reservation policies spark off violence: PTI
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