Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s kabristan versus shamshan line found an echo in the Bihar Assembly on Friday, as the Opposition BJP accused the Nitish Kumar government of “minority appeasement” and asked it to set aside funds for both Muslim graveyards and Hindu cremation grounds. The BJP claimed that the Bihar government has allocated Rs 700 crore towards developing kabristans, and sought Rs 2,500-crore allocation to develop crematoriums, taking into account the population of Hindus.
The BJP also took the issue outside the Assembly and criticised the government for the lack of a policy to develop cremation grounds. Bringing a “non-government resolution”, Sanjay Saraogi, BJP MLA from Darbhanga, proposed that the government make an allocation for shamshan/mukti kendra (crematoriums). Responding as the designated minister on behalf of the chief minister, who holds the home portfolio, minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav told the House that municipal corporations take care of crematoriums in urban areas but there is no policy to develop them in rural areas.
Not satisfied with the response, Saraogi sought to know why the government had not allocated even Rs 25 crore to develop crematoriums, when it had allocated Rs 700 crore for development of Muslim graveyards. “We have no problems with what you are doing for the minorities, but what about the majority population? How can the government have no policy for the majority,” he asked.