The number of registered communal riots cases in Bihar increased three fold following the acrimonious split between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in June 2013. The number of registered cases of communal riots increased from 24 between June-December 2012 to over 87 in 2013 in the same period, according to an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report to the state home ministry.
The highly confidential report, a copy of which is with dna, reveals a politics of riots, similar to the one played out in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, is being played out in Bihar. The IB report indicates that 17 riots took place in Bihar in August 2013, 18 in September and 18 again in November. Communal violence recently gripped Bettiah, Nawada and Khagadia districts. On August 10, 2013, vehicles of senior government officials were torched and three policemen were severely injured in Bettiah. On the same day, two people were killed and more than 16 injured in clashes between the two communities in Nawada.
The JD-U, the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) blame the BJP for the flare up while the saffron party termed it a fallout of Nitish Kumar’s “appeasement politics”. Talking to Zee Purvaiya (dna’s sister concern) earlier, chief minister Nitish Kumar took pot shots at the BJP and dropped hints that the former alliance partner was to be blamed. “Several incidents took place following JD-U’s separation with the BJP. These will go on,” he said. JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar minced no words in blaming the BJP for all the riots that have rocked the state since the two parties split.
Calling for a probe, senior state BJP leader Giriraj Singh said: “The riots are a product of the appeasement politics of Nitish Kumar. Why is there no inquiry? Let all the cases in Khagadia, Betiah and Nawada be thoroughly probed. The involvement of government officials will come to light.”
Congress spokesperson Chandan Yadav said: “Given the communal nature of the parties, BJP’s involvement cannot be ruled out in riot cases in Bihar. They are providing impetus to the communal frenzy.”