40 held for clashes during Bihar CAA stir; SIT set up
An uneasy calm prevailed on Sunday in parts of Bihar where violence erupted a day ago during a bandh called by the opposition’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) against the amended citizenship act and the proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC).
On Saturday, clashes broke out in Patna’s Phulwari Sharif, where over 25 people were injured in stone-pelting and firing. Markets and business establishments in the area remained closed a day later. “The situation is tense but under control,” said a senior police official on condition of anonymity. According to Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Garima Malik, 40 people including three women have been arrested in connection with Saturday’s violence, and a special investigation team has been formed under the supervision of city SP (West) Abhinav Kumar to catch hold of the other accused.
“We have got the evidence against the miscreants and they have been identified. As of now, they are absconding but police will arrest them,” Kumar said.
The Patna police have lodged an FIR against 27 people, including former deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, Congress state president Madan Mohan Jha and RLSP president and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, for holding a protest in a restricted area.
“There was a ruckus on the Dak Bungalow crossing in Patna during the Bihar bandh called by RJD yesterday [Saturday]. A case has been filed against Tejashwi Yadav, Jagadanand Singh and others,” police said.
Meanwhile, a political tussle broke out over Sunday’s clashes. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad condemned the violence during the protests, which he said were sponsored by the “tukde tukde gang” and “urban Naxals”.
“I condemn the violence that took place during the RJD’s bandh on Saturday. The cameras of media personnel were broken during the agitation. I also condemn it. It shows the dual character of the Opposition, which tries to teach about the Constitution [to us],” he said.
However, RJD’s Jagadanand Singh said the protest was largely peaceful. “There were just two incidents of the crowd breaching decency—one in Patna and another at Bhagalpur. We do not support violence of any kind,” he said.
RJD spokesperson Chitaranjan Gagan said the party has expelled three of its members — Tirupatinath Yadav, Miraz Chand and Shahzad—who were identified among those indulging in vandalism during the bandh in Bhagalpur district. “While Yadav was the district unit president, Chand headed the youth wing in Bhagalpur. Shahzada is an active member of the RJD. The action has been taken in view of their involvement in vandalising an auto rickshaw, in defiance of the party’s strict instructions that no violence should take place during the bandh. The party has also decided to pay damages to the aggrieved auto rickshaw driver,” he said.