Vinay Bihari, 48, is a cabinet minister. He inaugurated a concert in a small town 150 kilometres from Patna. The musical event was part of celebrations for the Navratri religious festival and was headlined by a hugely popular folk singer, Pawan Singh.
The audience of nearly 50,000 people tried to rush towards the stage and the police pushed back. A mob then threw stones at the minister. Six people have been arrested and a police complaint names them along with 500 unidentified others.
"The minister was hit with a stone in the chin. We shielded him and managed to pull him out from the crowd before anything untoward could happen. His car was parked near the stage and somebody poured petrol on it and set it on fire before the driver could take it out," said Chandan Kumar Kushwaha, a senior police officer handling the case.
Local administration officials have submitted a report to the government on the assault, alleging that it could have been instigated by the mining mafia which is enraged over the recent closure of several mines because of anti-pollution laws.