Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday restrained policemen from going after a group of youngsters who waved black flags at his public meeting in this district, and said, “dissent lends beauty to democracy”. The incident took place at Sulindabad village in Kehra block of Saharsa, where the chief minister said a crackdown would lead to undue publicity for the youngsters who were “barely four or five in number” and remarked wryly “what is wrong with the black colour. It is a fine shade.”
“Where are you going! Keep your hands off. Let them show black flags. These boys are barely four or five in number but if you go after them they will become the focus of attention of the entire media and gain undue publicity,” Kumar told policemen, interrupting his address for a few minutes.
“Dissent must be allowed as it lends beauty to democracy. Moreover, what is wrong with the black colour. It is a fine shade,” he said. On noticing that the youths stopped waving black flags, he asked them: “What happened. Why have you hidden your black flags. Please carry on.” The reason for the protest was not immediately known.
The chief minister was in Saharsa as part of his state-wide “Vikas Samiksha Yatra”. He began the third phase of the yatra with a visit to Gauripur Panchayat in Singheshwar block of Madhepura district before arriving here. At both his public meetings, Kumar underscored efforts made by his government towards providing electricity, sanitation facilities and safe drinking water to the remotest parts of the state.
He spoke about measures taken for empowerment of women-including reservations in Panchayats and police jobs, free bicycles and uniforms to school going girls and setting up of self-help groups. He stressed that social welfare measures like ban on alcohol and campaigns against dowry and child marriage were aimed at improving the lives of women and they would benefit the society.
Kumar also urged people at both the villages to turn up in huge numbers to take part in a human chain that would be formed across the state on January 21 in support of the drive against dowry and child marriage.