Nitish Kumar assaulted by deranged man on the outskirts of Patna


PTI, Mar 28, 2022, 9:48 AM IST

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was on Sunday physically assaulted by a “mentally unstable” person who came within striking distance on the outskirts of the city, dodging the security cordon.

According to a statement issued by the district administration, the chief minister was attacked by 32-year- old Shankar Kumar Verma alias Chhotu, a resident of Abu Mohammadpur locality in Bakthiyarpur township of Patna district.

Kumar was in Bakhtiyarpur as part of a public outreach programme which has led him to tour areas falling under the now abolished Lok Sabha constituency of Barh, which he had represented a number of times.

Incidentally, the chief minister, whose roots lay in adjoining Nalanda district, was born and brought up in Bakhtiyarpur where his father was a freedom fighter and a successful Ayurveda physician.

At the time of the incident, the CCTV footage of which has gone viral on social media, Kumar was paying floral tributes to Pandit Sheelbhadra Yaji, a legendary freedom fighter and a former Rajya Sabha member who was known to be a close associate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

In the footage, Kumar can be seen bending forward to place flowers at the feet of the life-size statue when the attacker climbs up a few steps briskly and strikes a blow from behind before being caught by alert security personnel.

The chief minister can be seen, in the footage, directing the security men to restrain themselves and quietly find out what was the matter with the assailant, who was many decades his junior.

“During inquiry, it has been found that Shankar Verma is deranged. He has attempted suicide twice, by jumping off the roof of a double-storied building and attempting to hang himself from the ceiling of his room. His mental instability has taken a toll on his marriage. His wife lives separately along with their children”, the administration said in its statement.

Nonetheless, the administration added, there were instructions from the chief minister that “no punitive action be taken and the attacker be provided all necessary medical support”.

Meanwhile, the political fraternity, especially members of the ruling NDA, were outraged over the attack on the septuagenarian, who is the state’s longest-serving chief minister.

Statements of condemnation came from ministers in his cabinet, members of his JD(U) as also alliance partners like the BJP and ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi.

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