Nitish Kumar Fiddles as Bihar Starts to Burn
THE CITIZEN BUREAU
PATNA: Communal tension has spiked in Bihar since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decided to join hands with the BJP, and desert the Grand Alliance with the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal. The state administration is finding it an uphill task to keep tensions in check with almost 50 per cent of the districts in the state reporting tensions over the Dussehra-Muharram weekend.
Katihar district saw clashes between the two communities, with several reported injured. The incident remained minor in terms of casualties but till date the tensions continue with police and paramilitary being moved in to contain the situation. The Dusshera processions passed off peacefully but on the next day the tazia’s were prevented from taken for immersion.
Member of Parliament from Katihar and Nationalist Congress Party leader Tariq Anwar told The Citizen that the situation was still tense, although in better control than a few days ago. He said that the people were victims of rumours, and the effort was to clearly communalise and polarise the district that is hope to about 3o per cent Muslims. Anwar said it smacked of a “political conspiracy.”
Reports of tension from different districts and towns was reported from all over the state, sources said. The violence was minor, but the tension sufficient to intensify communalisation across Bihar that had voted overwhelmingly against the BJP in the last Assembly elections. Nitish Kumar, however, backed off from the mandate and is now in government with the support of the BJP.
This is the second wave of communal tension in Bihar in just a month. In early September following tension in at least seven districts of Kosi and Purnia divisions after allegedly cow carcasses were found floating in a canal atTonkowan village under Murliganj police state in Madhepura district. Internet services had to be suspended to prevent rumours and wild charges from being spread, and thereby provoking violence. Katihar was tense at that time as well along wit Madhepura, Supal, Saharsa, Purnea, Araria and Kishanganj.
At that time the Rapid Action Force had to be deployed as well. The cattle had reportedly drowned in the recent floods in the state although rumours suggested otherwise. Cow vigilantes collected at the spot along with villagers and targeted the police. The cow slaughter issue has raised its head all over Bihar, with cases being registered by the cops under the prevention Act, even as tension grips districts where such charges are being registered. For instance in Araria being gripped by rumours that a Muslim family had carried “cow meat” to their home during Eid.
Eid a month ago and Muharram now have been marked with tension. Local sources insisted that the CM has had little to say. Tariq Anwar said he had not spoken to him saying there was little that Nitish Kumar could do now to contain the fast deteriorating communal environment in the state. The BJP is in the driver's seat now, and as local sources said “ the CM is being driven.” Anwar said there was still no logical explanation for Nitish Kumar’s decision to dump the alliance that had led him to victory in the state, pointing out that this time around the BJP was on a mission to capture the state for the 2019 parliamentary polls. “Nitish Kumar will be dumped as he dumped the Opposition” Anwar said echoing other opposition leaders of the state.