Ara: Ranvir Sena Chief Brahmeshwar Singh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Bihar's Bhojpur district early Friday morning, police said.

READ MORE:Bihar: Curfew lifted in Ara

Singh was on a morning walk when he was accosted by gunmen who pumped several bullets into him, killing him on the spot at Katira Mohalla under Nawada police station, 71 kms from Patna, they said.
   
Singh alias Mukhiya ji, who was earlier facing life imprisonment in various carnage cases, was acquitted and released from jail in April this year.
   
Chief of Ranvir Sena, a private militia of upper caste landlords, is allegedly responsible for perpetrating several killings including Laxmanpur Bathe massacre of 61 Dalits way back in December 1996.
   
His hand was also suspected in carnages that took place in the districts of Jahanabad, Aurangabad and Nawada in 1990s.     As the news of the killing spread, hundreds of Sena supporters gathered at the site of the killing and shouted anti-government slogans. They also tried to chase away policemen including the superintendent of police, who had arrived at the spot.
   
Patrolling has been intensified in the area as tension ran high.

Who was Brahmeshwar Singh?

Brahmeshwar Singh had set up his dreaded outfit in the mid-1990s when caste armies, professing to protect rights of different groups, had sprung up all over Bihar. Apart from Laxmanpur-Bathe, the Sena also allegedly organised massacres at Mianpur and Bathani Tola.
      
According to the police, the Sena was allegedly involved in as many as 29 massacres between 1995 and 2000 and remained the most formidable adversary of the ultra-Left extremist groups as well as the state police.
     
Singh, who held a political science post-graduate degree from Patna University, was arrested in Patna in 2002, and with that a decline in the number of caste armies ensued. He had been on bail in the last of the 22 cases against him.
    
In April last year, a Bihar court had sentenced 16 persons to death and awarded life imprisonment to 10 others in the Laxmanpur-Bathe case. But Singh, who was one of the accused, escaped punishment as he was declared an absconder, though he was lodged in Ara Jail in connection with other cases.

A high alert has been sounded in the state following the killing of Singh by six gunmen who were armed with sophisticated weapons. As the news of the killing spread, hundreds of Sena supporters gathered at the site of the killing and shouted anti-government slogans.
   
They also tried to chase policemen, including the superintendent of police, who had arrived at the spot and later clashed with policemen and burnt five private and government vehicles, sources said.
       
Hundreds of people brought out processions in the district. The private bus operators suspended bus services from Patna causing immense hardships to passengers in the area.
 
Senior police officials, including Director General of Police Abhayanand were camping on the spot. Additional reinforcements have been rushed to Ara from
Patna.
       
A latest report from Ara said the authorities decided to lift the curfew in the town from this afternoon. The decision followed after a high-level review of the situation by senior state officials.
   
Director-General of Police Abhayanand, who is camping in the spot, was heckled by local people who charged him with failure to povide security to the Sena chief. Additional Director General (Law and Order) S K Bhardwaj additional police force from Patna Buxar and Rohtas have been rushed to Bhojpur to take care of the situation.
       
Personnel of the Bihar Military Police have also been deployed to maintain law and order. Meanwhile, main opposition parties RJD, Congress and LJP have demanded a CBI inquiry into the killing of the Ranvir Sena supremo. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad said the case required to be thoroughly probed by an independent agency like CBI.
      
LJP president Ramvilas Paswan also demanded a CBI probe. Deputy Chief Minister S K Modi has, however, ruled out ordering a CBI probe into the killing, saying " Bihar police is efficient to probe the case and the guilty won't be spared."

(Agencies)

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