Patna, Nov 2: Normal life in Bihar was hit on Friday as the main opposition party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) observed a 12-hour state-wide shutdown to protest against Thursday"s attack on journalists by the Janata Dal (United) MLA Anant Singh and his supporters.
Activists of the RJD, supported by the Congress party, marched through the streets, carrying placards and raising slogans against the incident. They alleged that the State government was not taking enough steps to deal with the violence spreading in the State. RJD State President Abdul Bari Siddiqui said the incident was an attack on democracy.
“Journalists have been roughed up and that is an attack on democracy," said Siddiqui. Shops and businesses remained closed during the shutdown.
Authorities have made arrangements to maintain law and order during the shutdown.
Reacting to the incident, a delegation of opposition parties, led by former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, on Thursday, submitted a memorandum to Bihar Governor R S Gavai demanding his intervention for improvement in law and order situation in the State.
"I am going to write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil explaining them the abysmal state of law and order in Bihar, where even journalists are not safe," she said.
Three television journalists were assaulted by Anant Singh and four of his associates after they had gone to the politician's residence for a reaction in connection with a case of rape and murder of a woman.
It all started on Thursday when Prakash Singh went to Anant Singh's residence to get his reaction to a story on the recovery of the body of a dead woman near the Patel Nagar area in Patna.
Supporters of Anant Singh, who were 20-25 in number, attacked the mediapersons, and broke their cameras, watches and mobile phones.
The journalists were held captive for two hours. They managed to escape only after the arrival of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) at the scene.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a CBI probe into allegations against Anant Singh and his associates of raping and killing a woman.
Anant Singh and four others were remanded to judicial custody till November 13. All the accused are lodged in high security Beur jail. Popularly known as Chhote Sarkar, Anant Singh is the JD (U) legislator from Mokama town.
He was elected to the State Assembly for the first time from Mokama in 2005, when he defeated Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MP Surajbhan Singh"s brother Lallan.
Anant Singh, considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, faces over 32 cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping in Barh and Mokama region, besides three in Patna.
He is said to have control over acres of land in Tal area of Mokama and Barh. It is believed he has amassed huge property in urban areas as well.
In 2004, Singh was seen brandishing an AK-56 rifle at a function in his ancestral village, Nadma. But no action was taken against him.