Police records show that since the BJP-JD(U) alliance broke up in 2013, the number of communal incidents in Bihar has tripled. What are your comments?
It has nothing to do with the break-up. Basically, what has happened after the split is that the present government has lost control over the police administration. The normal crime rate has also gone up, so it is not just communal incidents.
In fact, general lawlessness has gone back to the 2005 period, when the progressive alliance took over the reigns from the RJD. Look at the rate of cognisable offences, rapes, dacoities — all these have seen an increase. After the alliance broke up, Nitish Kumar has devoted himself to political management. So the major reason for the rise in communal incidents is a lack of governance.
The pattern of violence shows that the number of communal incidents increased almost tenfold in districts that had seen less than a handful of such episodes from January 2010 until the split. What are the reasons for this?
As I said, Bihar is suffering from lawlessness. Let us take the figures. Look at the cognisable offences — in 2005, it was 1, 47,778; in 2013, it became 1,84,961 and in 2014, it rose to 1,95,24. The number of rape cases were 973 in 2005; 1,128 in 2013; and 1,127 in 2014. The number of dacoity cases stood at 224 in 2005; 240 in 2013 and 265 in 2014. Similarly, the number of murder cases was 3,423 in 2005 and 3,441 in 2013.
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So what it shows is since 2013, when the alliance broke up, the state has gone backwards to the 2005 scenario. It explains why there has been an increase in communal incidents as the lawlessness has spread to the entire state while the administration is weak.
Many of these communal incidents have been in regions where the Muslim population is less than the state average. They are also regions where the BJP made gains in 2014. So did the BJP benefit from this polarisation?
Our victory has nothing to do with polarisation. If we are talking about polarisation, let’s take the case of Katihar and Araria. There the Hindu votes got divided, otherwise there was no chance for Tariq Anwar (NCP) in Katihar. And these places have a high Muslim population.
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But Katihar and Araria also had the lowest number of communal incidents.
It is for you to see the data and correlate.
Police records indicate that in at least two instances, including Jehanabad, people with clear links to the Sangh Parivar had mobilised rioters. Do you approve of their actions?
The RJD team that visited Jehanabad blamed the police for inefficiency. It was totally the fault of police and the administration that they could not resolve the issue. And naturally, with the VHP being close to the BJP, they become the favourite whipping boys. Being a Hindu organisation, they would be active in solving the problems of the Hindu society but that is not the same as rioting.