The cavalcade of CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar was attacked in Bihar on Friday by a mob that opposed his state-wide tour against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and left the former JNU student's vehicle damaged and several people injured.
When the attack happened, the former JNU student leader was on his way to address a rally in the west Bihar town of Arrah, where the Bhojpur district is headquartered.
"Our cavalcade has been attacked many times since the 'Jan Gan Man Yatra' began on January 30. Today was, indeed, a close shave. It was the first time that the vehicle in which we were sitting was attacked, though thankfully we escaped unhurt," Congress MLA Shakeel Ahmed Khan, who has been accompanying Kumar on the state-wide tour, told PTI over phone.
The incident happened when the cavalcade or convoy, comprising about five vehicles, was coming from neighbouring Buxar where Kumar had addressed a public meeting earlier in the day.
"We were following a police vehicle deployed by the state government in the wake of the previous attacks. The driver braked upon noticing 25-30 youths, some of them on motorcycles and others on foot, standing on the roadside armed with sticks, stones and wearing headbands with menacing slogans inscribed," the MLA said.
"Unfortunately, the police vehicle had gone some distance ahead and the attackers pounced on us. Several pieces of rock hit our vehicle, damaging it to an extent that it was rendered unusable. In the meantime, the policemen realised something was amiss and they rushed back and tried to disperse the mob," Khan said.
The Congress leader said that he and Kumar escaped unhurt and got into another vehicle, while one of their associates had his skull open by a stone that hit him.
"He has been sent to hospital. We were asked by the police personnel to zoom past the site of trouble which we did," he added.
Some of the motorcyclists tried to follow the cavalcade but were knocked down by the speeding cars, Khan said, adding that it was a painful sight.
"We never wanted to cause any harm in course of our campaign. But things went beyond control," Khan said.
The MLA said that he recounted the incident to Bhojpur's Superintendent of Police Sushil Kumar who said had he known such an attack would take place at a seemingly secluded spot, police deployment would have been made.
"I also rang up Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Amir Subhani to narrate the incident," he said.
"It would not be correct to say the police did not help at all. Our damaged car was left abandoned on the road.
They got it towed to a garage for repairs," Khan said.
The Bhojpur SP said that all the injured persons, whose exact number was yet to be ascertained, were admitted to
hospitals and after investigations all those involved in the attack will be brought to book.
Meanwhile, the state unit of the CPI, which had last year fielded Kumar from his home town of Begusarai in the Lok
Sabha polls, issued a statement condemning the "murderous attack".
"It seems like in neighboring Uttar Pradesh, the police in Bihar too has been acting as an extended arm of the
ruling BJP, which is hell bent upon silencing the voice of dissent and democratic protests against the discriminatory citizenship law and its possible fallouts," state CPI secretary Satya Narayan Singh said.