Ram Navami clashes: One killed in fresh violence in Bihar, over 80 arrested
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was scheduled to take part in a function in Sasaram on Sunday, cancelled his visit because of the communal tension.
One person was killed as fresh violence erupted in Bihar on Saturday night following the communal clashes during Ram Navami processions, ANI reported.
The person died during violence in Biharsharif and his body has been sent for postmortem examination, Superintendent of Police Ashok Mishra said.
The clashes first broke out between Hindus and Muslims on Thursday evening in Biharsharif and Sasaram – the district headquarters of Nalanda and Rohtas. The violence continued on Friday. Vehicles, houses as well as shops were set on fire and several people were injured.
On Saturday night, fresh incidents were reported in two to three places in Biharsharif, District Magistrate Shashank Shubhankar said. He added that over 80 people have been arrested.
Mishra said eight first information reports have been filed and more than 50 people have been arrested in raids that were conducted at night.
In Sasaram, six persons were injured in a blast at a house, NDTV reported. The police have reportedly recovered a two-wheeler from the site.
Meanwhile, the Rohtas Police said that reports claiming that Hindus in Sasaram were leaving Muslim-dominated areas out of fear were “baseless and absurd”. The police said that the situation in the city is peaceful and urged citizens not to believe rumours.
Amit Shah’s visit to Sasaram cancelled
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was scheduled to take part in a function in Sasaram on Sunday, cancelled his visit because of the communal clashes in the town, PTI reported.
The authorities have banned gatherings of four or more persons in Sasaram and Biharsharif under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Shah was on Sunday scheduled to take part in a function commemorating the birth anniversary of Mauryan emperor Ashoka. The king has acquired the status of an OBC (Other Backward Classes) icon in Bihar.
Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party chief Samrat Choudhary blamed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for deteriorating law and order in the state. “Even Bihar Sharif, which falls in the chief minister’s home district of Nalanda, is in turmoil,” he said at a press conference. “So are many other parts of the state.”
BJP leaders also claimed that prohibitory orders were imposed deliberately in Sasaram to impede Shah’s function, PTI reported.
Close to party 30 leaders, including Choudhary and Leader of the Opposition in Assembly Vijay Kumar Sinha, submitted a memorandum to Governor Rajendra Arlekar. They blamed the cancellation of Shah’s event on “extreme incompetence and failure of the administration”.
The Bihar chief minister, however, told reporters, “I don’t know why he [Shah] was coming and I don’t understand why he decided not to come.”
Kumar said communal tensions during Ram Navami festivities are disturbing and asked the police to punish those responsible for the chaos.
“Such incidents happened for the first time in the area,” he added. “It’s not natural...We know that some people are indulging in mischief and are trying to disrupt communal harmony in the state. We will not allow this to happen.”
On Sunday morning, Shah spoke to Governor Rajendra Arlekar to assess the situation in the state.
Besides Bihar, communal flare-ups were reported in Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh during Ram Navami processions. The spark reportedly was almost the same everywhere: people shouting hateful slogans or playing loud music in front of mosques.
The violence is a repeat of incidents that were reported across several states last year on Ram Navami. Following the violence, the authorities had demolished shops and buildings owned by the accused persons, most of whom were Muslims.