On CAA row, Nitish Kumar breaks silence with a ‘guarantee’ to minorities
Minorities are safe in Bihar in the rule of the Janata Dal (United)-led government, chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday, seeking to allay apprehensions in a few quarters on the day protests against the amended citizenship act (CAA) threw life out of gear and arson was reported from several parts of the state.
“I take the guarantee that minority communities cannot be ignored and no wrong can happen to them as long as we are at the helm,” he said, criticising the Opposition that he said was trying to create confusion among minorities.
Such provocations will not succeed, he said. “The minorities have seen what they [the Opposition] did for them when they were in power,” he said, in an oblique reference to the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which has called a Bihar bandh on December 21 to protest against both the CAA and the plans for a National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country.
WATCH | ‘No harm to minorities, I guarantee’: Nitish amid anti-CAA protests in Bihar
On Thursday, Bihar faced large-scale disruption of traffic, vandalism and arson during a statewide shutdown called by Left parties against CAA and NRC.
Also, small parties, such as controversial former parliamentarian Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) and former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), which is part of the opposition alliance, took part in the dawn to dusk protests.The RJD extended “moral support” to the bandh although its cadre stayed away from enforcing the same.
In many parts of the state, including the state capital of Patna, bandh supporters forced the closure of shopping establishments and disrupted movement of vehicles. Incidents of tyre burning and vandalisation of vehicles were reported from several parts. Several leading schools remained shut. Bandh supporters were also seen forcing bookshops and coaching institutes to down shutters.
In Patna, activists belonging to pro-Left student bodies stormed the Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station and squatted on the tracks, disrupting the movement of trains for about half an hour early in the morning.
There was fresh disturbance at the station around 10 am when hundreds of JAP activists burnt tyres on a road adjacent to the Rajendra Nagar Terminal even as some of them squatted on the tracks.
During the bandh in Bhojpur, shops and malls were hit with stones. The Nawada police in the district detained around 50 activists after the protests turned violent.
People also staged a demonstration close to the block headquarters at Musahari in Muzaffarpur, disrupting vehicle movement. In Muzaffarpur, bandh supporters allegedly pelted stones at a garment store.
Additional director general (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said the bandh in Bihar was peaceful and there were no reports of violence from any parts of the state. “We are still in the process of collecting details. No untoward incident was reported,” he said.