Police baton-charged and used water cannons in the heart of the Bihar capital on Monday when hundreds of people, many owing allegiance to a political party, staged a demonstration to press several demands.
Meanwhile, a video clip went viral of an official raining blows on a young protester who can be seen rolling on the ground, writhing in pain, while holding aloft a tricolour.
Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav has taken note of the incident and said action will be taken against those found guilty.
According to Patna District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh, trouble erupted at the Dak Bungalow crossing where two separate groups, one comprising teachers' eligibility test qualified candidates seeking jobs and the other consisting of workers of the Jan Adhikar Party, gathered and tried to proceed towards the Raj Bhavan, situated a couple of kilometres away.
“It was a huge crowd that could not have been allowed to proceed beyond Dak Bungalow crossing. Mild use of force was resorted to as they refused to disperse despite an offer that a five-member delegation can visit the Raj Bhavan along with a magistrate and submit a memorandum,” the DM said.
State Congress spokesman Asit Nath Tiwari, whose party is an ally of the ruling coalition, issued a strongly worded statement condemning the episode.
“The official is K K Singh, an additional district magistrate with a reputation of high-handedness. During the COVID epidemic, he had commanded citizens to produce videos of themselves beating utensils failing which their applications will not be considered,” Tiwari alleged.
“We could have understood had the youngster been involved in stone-pelting or any type of physical violence himself. But beating up of a tricolour-wielding young man who posed no menace is unacceptable and the official concerned must be punished,” Tiwari demanded.
The DM, when asked about the episode, said the administration has set up a two-member inquiry committee to look into the allegations and examine the video footage.
“The committee will submit its report in two days and action may be taken accordingly,” he said.
However, the DM also added that “a case will be lodged against those taking part in the demonstration as well. No processions are allowed at the Dak Bungalow crossing and hence, the protesters will be booked under relevant sections”.