The chief of Ranvir Sena, the dreaded private militia of 'upper caste' landowners, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Friday while he was on a morning walk triggering violence during which the Bihar DGP was roughed up.
Five private and government vehicles were set on fire in the violence that broke out in the district headquarter town of Ara in Bhojpur district after the killing of Brahmeshwar Singh alias Mukhiya ji, police said. Singh was in his early 70s.
Curfew was clamped in Ara after the shooting but it was lifted in the afternoon following a high-level review of the situation by senior state officials. The situation in the district was described as tense but under control.
Director-General of Police Abhayanand, who is camping at the spot, was roughed up and heckled by local people who charged him with failure to provide security to Singh, who was also the founder of the banned outfit.
Singh was taking a stroll when six unidentified gunmen armed with sophisticated weapons pumped several bullets into him, killing him on the spot at Katira Mohalla under Nawada police station, 71kms from Patna, police said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed for calm and said investigations were underway to trace the killers.
The DGP constituted a high-level team led by Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajitabh Kumar to expedite the probe into the killing and submit a report within a month.
"Guilty won't be spared," Abhayanand said.
Singh, who faced life imprisonment in several cases of carnage he had perpetrated on the lower caste landless poor, including in Laxmanpur Bathe where 61 Dalits were massacred in December, 1996, was acquitted and released from jail in April this year.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC would remain in force, sub-divisional police officer Dharmesh Kumar said.
The main opposition parties RJD, Congress and LJP demanded a CBI probe into the incident.
As the news of the killing spread, hundreds of Sena supporters gathered at the site of the killing and shouted anti-government slogans.
The Sena men also tried to chase policemen, including the superintendent of police, who had arrived at the spot and later clashed with policemen.