In yet another incident of communal flare-up in Bihar, scores of vehicles were on Friday vandalised and a hotel was set ablaze in this district, where members of two communities clashed following reports of desecration of an idol, an official said. Trouble erupted in Godapur village under the Town police station area, where an idol was found vandalised, following which the members of two communities indulged in heavy stone-pelting, District Magistrate (DM) Kaushal Kumar said.
He added that an enraged mob also went on a rampage on National Highway 31, hurling stones at the vehicles and leaving scores of them damaged. The mob also set a hotel on fire, the DM said. The police fired 10 rounds in the air to quell the mob that also allegedly manhandled a number of local journalists, who had gone to the spot to cover the incident.
The situation was brought under control, though tension prevailed in the area, the DM said, adding that a heavy deployment of police was in place. No arrest was made in this connection so far, he added. Nawada is located at a distance of around 70 kms from state capital Patna.
Bihar has witnessed a spurt in communal clashes in the recent past. On March 17, violence broke out in Bhagalpur, where a religious procession was being led by Arijit Shashwat, the son of Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey. On Sunday last, the members of two communities had clashed in Aurangabad over a Ram Navami procession. Similar incidents were reported from Sitamarhi, Nalanda, Sheikhpura and Munger districts over the next few days. The BJP and the opposition RJD have been trading charges over the issue, blaming each other for the sudden rise in such incidents.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav (RJD) has alleged that those associated with the Sangh Parivar are fomenting communal passion in the state and that they were “trained” to do so by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat during his week-long tour of Bihar last month. The BJP has hit back, with its state unit spokesman Rajib Ranjan issuing a statement, squarely blaming the opposition party for “spreading communal frenzy” and accusing it of trying to “defame” the NDA government in the state.
Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh urged Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar to “reconsider” his party’s tie-up with the BJP. In a statement, he said, “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar must give a serious thought to the revival of the Grand Alliance in Bihar. Political compulsions are preventing him from effectively cracking down on the rioters.”
“The state cannot prosper in such an environment. Moreover, the recent incidents have given the government a bad name. The chief minister should reconsider his decision,” Singh said, referring to Kumar’s exit last year from the “Mahagathbandhan”, comprising the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress, after which he rejoined the BJP-led NDA.