Bihar Police have filed an FIR against 39 people from Harivanshpur village of Vaishali district for protesting against lack of water supply and death of several children due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
"Our children have died. We did road gherao, but the administration has filed FIR against us. Men against whom FIR has been registered have left the village & gone away. They were the only breadwinners," a villager said.
According to a Down to Earth report, the villagers said that they were demonstrating at their village and not even on the main roads or highway. They also said that they were unaware of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visiting Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur on June 18.
"We demonstrated in our village which is more than 5 kilometres away from the main Muzaffarpur-Patna highway which the CM took to travel. None of us went on the main road as we really did not know," the villagers said.
"Had we known this and the fact that we would face this after having lost so many children, we might not have done this," they added.
Reports regarding the residents of the village shifting their children to other villages after the AES outbreak had also come out in the past week.
The locals had also staged a demonstration and announced a reward of Rs 15,000 for locating their MP and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who has not visited the district even as the villagers have been suffering from severe water shortage and death of children due to AES.
The villagers had also offered Rs 5,000 to anyone who gives information on MLA Raj Kishore Singh.
"We are faced with multiple problems, but our MP or MLA has no time to visit us. Seven children died here. People have locked their houses and left. Even animals are dying as they have no water to drink," the residents said.
Meanwhile, the death toll due to AES rose to 131 in Muzaffarpur on Tuesday.