The father of a Bihar soldier who was killed in action in the 2020 Galwan clashes with China was allegedly manhandled and arrested last night over a dispute linked to land for the soldier’s memorial. The arrest has sparked protests at the soldier’s village in Bihar’s Vaishali.
CCTV footage shows the police dragging away soldier Jay Kishore’s father Raj Kapoor Singh from the village. The family alleges that he was beaten by the police.
Singh has been charged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after a complaint against him by Dalit villagers who accused him of encroaching upon government land.
“The police officer came and told us remove the memorial within 15 days. Last night, they arrested my father, dragged him, slapped him, abused him, and also beat him at the police station,” alleged Mr Singh’s other son, Nand Kishore Singh.
“They came in the dead of night and arrested him like he is a terrorist,” he claimed.
As news of the arrest spread, several villagers arrived at the memorial and protested against the police.
The police, however, claimed there was more to it.
Police officer Poonam Kesari said she acted on a complaint from villagers that the soldier’s memorial had blocked access to a neighbour’s farm.
“They built a memorial, then overnight walls came up around it. There was encroachment on government land. He was told repeatedly to remove the encroachment,” the officer said.
In February last year, the family put up a bust of the soldier on a piece of land outside their home and many government officials participated in a ceremony to unveil the memorial.
The memorial was built illegally on government land, alleged Singh’s neighbour Harinath Ram, blocking his way to his property.