‘Anti-Repression Day’ observed after Bihar flood victims clash with police (Lead)

December 30th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Dec 30 (IANS) An “anti-Repression Day” was observed in many parts of Bihar Tuesday, a day after hundreds of flood victims clashed with police while protesting against the inadequate assistance provided by the state government.Thousands of flood victims from Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul districts had blocked roads and railway lines Monday and disrupted normal life at different places. They were led by the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M), which also called for the observance of the “Anti-Repression Day” to condemn the police action.

Over 50 victims, including women, were injured in a series of clashes with the police in all three districts and about 1,000 were arrested.

“The flood victims were peacefully protesting massive loot of relief materials in the Kosi region but the state government tried to suppress the voices and police were given a free hand,” State CPI-M Secretary Vijay Kant Thakur said.

More than three million people in Bihar were rendered homeless when the Kosi river breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course Aug 18, causing the worst flood in the state in the past 50 years. Large tracts of land were flooded, forcing people to flee their homes.

They were then forced to live along the roads under the open sky without food, clothes and drinking water or in the relief camps set up by the state government.

CPI-M had last week announced an indefinite strike in the three districts to draw the government’s attention to the plight of the flood victims. Adequate relief and a permanent solution to the problem of recurring floods were demanded.

“Indefinite kisan (farmer) curfew began in Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul districts. It will continue till the government provides adequate relief to flood victims,” Thakur had said.

He said 25 percent of flood victims were yet to receive the first instalment of relief material.

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