A roadside dhabas refusal to serve chicken in the month of saawan led to an argument that took a communal colour and triggered clashes during which a 14-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed in Nawada,officials said.
Police said the violence was fanned by rumour mongering by anti-social elements from both communities. Nawada town,headquarters of Bihars Nawada district,remained under curfew on Tuesday. Police forces from Patna and Nalanda have arrived to bolster the district police.
It is regettable that an argument over a dhaba not serving chicken led to a communal clash. Most people involved were aged under 20, said Nawada district panchayati raj public relations officer S C Jha.
Officials said six youths from Bhadauni village went to Baba Ka Dhaba on NH 31,connecting Nawada with Biharsharif,Friday night and asked for chicken. A dhaba employee,Duldul,apparently told them that the dhaba served only vegetarian food during the month of saawan out of respect for the kanwariyas. The youths,who were reportedly drunk,did not take this well,and picked an argument with dhaba employees.
The next morning,a group of young men allegedly ransacked the dhaba. People from Muslim-dominated Bhadauni started stopping vehicles on NH 31. Most of these vehicles were carrying kanwariyas,and arguments ensued,in the course of which some kanwariyas were roughed up. This was the spark that lit the communal fire, said a senior police officer.
As people from Hindu-dominated areas of Godapur opposite Bhadauni started gathering in large numbers,police reached the spot. According to people who claimed to be witnesses,a 14-year-old boy,Kundan Rajak,reportedly tried to snatch a policemans pistol,which went off.
The boy later died at the Patna Medical College and Hospital. Nawada district magistrate Aadesh Titarmare,however,said the matter was being investigated,and it was not clear how the boy was killed.
On Sunday night,a few houses were attacked. Two live bombs were recovered from the Bundelkhand police station area. There were fresh clashes on Monday,and firing from both sides,in which 20-year-old Mohammed Iqbal was killed. Police have denied allegations that Iqbal was hit by a police bullet.