At least four villagers were killed and five others injured when Sashastra Seema Bal personnel on Monday opened fire on a mob which attacked them in the district alleging some of its members had misbehaved with a woman, police said.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer Md Kasim said locals from Batraha village under Kursakant police station went to the SSB's outpost there and complained to authorities that some of its personnel had misbehaved with a local woman on Sunday night.
As SSB men refused to acknowledge the charge, villagers went on the rampage in the Border Outpost demanding action against the guilty personnel, Kasim said, adding they started throwing stones and the SSB men used batons to control the situation but failed.
The men in uniform then opened fire, killing four villagers identified as Md Shehnawaj, Md Jabir, Md Kurban and Farhad Jahan on the spot. Three other villagers who sustained injuries were admitted to Sadar hospital here, he said.
Two SSB personnel, injured in the stone pelting, were also hospitalised, Kasim said, adding three SSB men were detained in this connection.
SSB is a border guarding force under administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the dependents of each of the deceased.
Kumar also ordered a probe into the incident to be conducted jointly by Divisional Commissioner (Purnia) and DIG (Purnia range).
"The guilty persons will be sternly punished," he said.
Kumar directed Home Department Principal Secretary Amir Subhani and DGP Neelmani to take up the matter with top SSB officials and ensure that such incidents do not recur.