Bihar: 57 in custody, 2 BJP leaders among 12 detained in Rosera, 34 held in Nalanda
Bihar police on Thursday arrested/detained 57 persons in connection with communal clashes in Samastipur, Munger and Nalanda.
In Samastipur district, two BJP leaders, along with 10 others, were taken into custody on the charge of disturbing communal harmony. Violent clashes had taken place during Ramnavami processions at Rosera in the district, about 118 km northeast of Patna, on Monday. Three FIRs were lodged in connection with the clashes.
More than 60 persons, including policemen, were injured and dozens of shops and vehicles were torched in Rosera during the clashes. Business establishments and shops in Rosera have remained closed since Tuesday.
Samastipur SP Dipak Ranjan said the two BJP leaders — Dinesh Jha (48) and Mohan Patwa (38) — were detained on the basis of a video of the incident and they were questioned about the clashes. Jha is a member of the state-level farmers’ cell of BJP while Patwa the district president of the party’s commercial cell.
After their detention, hundreds of workers and supporters of BJP, which is part of the ruling alliance along with JD(U) in the state, held a protest against the police action terming the action as “one-sided”. The protestors gheraoed Rosera police station, demanding release of the detainees without delay.
BJP state spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan said that if any BJP worker or leader has done any wrong he’ll be given the same punishment as an ordinary man. Nobody is above law, he added.
Additional security personnel, including two battalions of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), have been deployed in sensitive areas of Rosera, with senior police officials keeping an eye on the situation. Internet services have been suspended to check spread of rumours.
In Munger town, where two communities clashed on Wednesday during an immersion procession of Chaiti Durga (idol of Goddess Durga installed in the Chaitra month of Hindu calendar), people clashed with the local administration on Thursday. Police had to resort to lathicharge and use tear gas shells to disperse the mob. The rampaging mob also pelted stones and lobbed countrymade bombs on the road. Altogether 11 persons were taken into custody. They were later forwarded to jail.
SDO Kundan Kumar said that at around 9 am, people assembled near gumti number 2 falling under Kotwali police station area and demanding the release of the five people arrested on Wednesday. They blocked the main road besides the railway crossing and disrupted vehicular traffic for nearly an hour.
In Nalanda district, Silao remained closed for most of the day on Thursday following a clash between two communities a day earlier. People had also clashed with the police there.
Nalanda district has a tradition of Ramnavami processions being taken out in different parts on separate dates even after the festival. The procession was scheduled for Wednesday in Silao. But a particular community objected to the procession being taken out through a certain route, leading to the clash and heavy stone-pelting.
Some shops opened late in the afternoon in Silao on Thursday but hardly any business activity was noticeable. Senior police officials appealed to the people to maintain calm and ignore rumour mongering by anti-social elements.
According to Biharsharif SP Sudhir Kumar Porika, at least 34 persons were arrested and forwarded to jail. He said the miscreants had hurled stones at security personnel, causing injuries to an SSB jawan, a bodyguard of a DSP and two constables. A number of vehicles were also damaged.
Patna range DIG Rajesh Kumar and Nalanda DM Thyagarajan, were camping in the area. Internet services have been suspended till March 30 apprehending law and order problem.
Bihar has been witnessing communal violence since March 17 when there were clashes between members of two communities at Nathnagar in Bhagalpur district. Thereafter, more clashes were reported from other districts in the state around Ramnavami festival when processions were taken out in various districts. So far 10 districts — Bhagalpur, Siwan, Aurangabad, Gaya, Munger, Kaimur, Samastipur, Nalanda, Jamui, Sheikhpura — have been hit by communal violence in the state.