Protest march turns violent in Patna, several policemen injured
Patna, Nov 29 (IANS) A protest march by the Pasi community turned violent in Patna after the police did not allow the protestors to go towards the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday.
The protestors claimed that the police is unnecessarily arresting people of their community on the charge of selling tari. They also demanded that the state government remove the ban on tari.
Tari is a drink which is generally consumed by poor people in the rural areas of Bihar. It's effect is similar to liquor and hence it is popular in the rural areas. People of the Pasi community have a traditional business of farming tari from palm trees and earn their livelihood by selling it.
"After the Bihar government banned liquor in 2016, tari was also put in this category. The state government also banned the sale of raw tari. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on several occasions, appealed to the people of the Pasi community to purify it in the form of Nira and then sell it. As liquor is not easily available, the majority of the people in the rural areas drink tari," said a protestor Ravi Kumar.
On Tuesday, people from across the state assembled in Patna for the silent protest. They wanted to gherao (lay siege to) the Vidhan Sabha. When they reached a roundabout near it, the police barricaded the road and did not allow them to move further towards the Vidhan Sabha. This led to a scuffle between the two sides. The protestors who were in large numbers, broke the barricades and advanced towards the Vidhan Sabha.
When the situation seemed to be getting out of control, the police lathicharged the rallyists. The protestors retaliated by pelting stones and bricks at the police. Several policemen were injured in the clash. Some mediapersons were also hurt in the stone pelting.