Two days after 16 people, including five children, were brutally massacred in the Khagaria district of Bihar, the state police on Saturday said it had arrested 11 people, including attack mastermind – OP Mahato.
Confirming the arrests, a top official of the Bihar police told correspondents that interrogations of those arrested resulted in some ‘vital information’ and more arrests would be made in the near future.
The arrests came in the midst of a shutdown in Khagaria, called by Opposition parties, in protest of the macabre attack.
Rashtriya Janata Dal activists, leading the daylong bandh, later said the shutdown in the area was ‘total’.
A land dispute appeared to be the cause for the massacre that took place in the Amausi village of Khagaria.
All the victims, members of the Kurmi caste, were brought to Amausi from their village – Amba Ichwara – a few kilometres away, with their hands tied before being shot down.
Police officials in Khagaria say raids are continuing to apprehend some 50 others, including two dozen Amausi residents, for involvement in the massacre.
“The combing operation is on by a joint team of security forces, including Bihar Military Police, Special Task Force and Special Auxiliary Police in Khagaria and neighbouring districts,” Khagaria SP Indranand Mishra was quoted as saying by IANS.
“About 37 people have been named as accused in the FIR lodged with Markuhi police station in connection with the massacre and 25 unidentified people also figure in the complaint,” Khagaria SP Indrananand Mishra was quoted as saying police sources said.
District officials on Saturday said that the situation in Khagaria remained tense but under control.
The killings have been blamed on the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.
Police is believed to have also got some information from Paro Singh — the lone survivor of the attack, who pretended to be dead after sustaining gunshot wounds.
A huge police deployment continues to guard the district amid fears of the Kurmis launching a retaliatory attack against the poorest of the poor Sada community, responsible for the attack.