A Durga Puja idol immersion effort ended in tragedy in Bihar's Munger on Tuesday. One person was killed and over two dozen others were injured in firing and stone-pelting, a day before the first phase of polling in the district.
"During Durga puja immersion, some anti-social elements restored to stone pelting which injured 20 policemen after this someone from the crowd fired leading to one death. Situation under control," the Police had said said soon after the clash.
Since then, many have taken to social media platforms calling for action and a thorough investigation. Coming as it does amid a politically charged atmosphere, Opposition leaders have hit out at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the situation. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav even drew a parallel with General Dyer, alleging that "this double-engine govt definitely had a role in it".
But the social media outrage is primarily centred around one individual, Lipi Singh. While some including BJP leader Tajinder Bagga have taken to Twitter wondering what action the Bihar government would take against Singh, others seem to hold her directly responsible for the death and injuries.
Who is Lipi Singh?
IPS officer Lipi Singh is the Munger Superintendent of Police and as such, tasked with maintaining the law and order situation in the district. Singh, a 2016 batch IPS officer, had previously come into the limelight after she took action against Independent Bihar MLA Anant Singh. She was dubbed as 'Lady Singham' after she took action against the MLA, conducting a raid that led to the discovery of bombs, guns and live cartridges.
Interestingly, Singh has a political connection of sorts, with her father being Janata Dal (United) leader Ramchandra Prasad Singh. Her father is a Member of the Rajya Sabha from Bihar. He had been a close aide to Nitish Kumar, serving as principal secretary earlier.
Why is she being attacked on social media?
The account given by her, of anti-social elements pelting stones someone from the crowd firing and killing one person has drawn criticism from social media users. Several videos, purportedly of the violent incident, have also surfaced, painting a rather different story where uniformed officials are using baton on the devotees. Another clip doing the rounds shows allegedly locals blaming officials.
While the veracity of the claims is yet to be confirmed as fact, many on social media have taken to comparing Singh to General Dyer, the the British Army Colonel who was behind the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
As IGP and Home Secretary, government of Karnataka, D Roopa took to Twitter to add, there appeared to have been some lapses , if one goes by the videos.
"Use of minimum force by police to disperse the unruly mob; reasonable amount of force proportional to the resistance by mob is what is prescribed by CrPC. Prior to use of actual bullets, announcement of warning, followed by use of tear gas is the SOP, sadly not seen in Munger," she had tweeted.