Communal violence continues in Bihar’s Nalanda and Rohtas districts; 173 arrested 

Paramilitary forces have been deployed; flag marches held; Section 144 of the CrPc has been imposed to maintain peace; Internet services remain suspended; BJP leaders allege ‘politics of appeasement’

April 03, 2023 05:49 pm | Updated 08:03 pm IST - Patna

Paramilitary personnel at the site after a loud sound was heard, at Sasaram, in Rohtas on April 3, 2023.

Paramilitary personnel at the site after a loud sound was heard, at Sasaram, in Rohtas on April 3, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Communal violence continued to create unrest in Nalanda and Rohtas districts as another alleged blast occurred in Sasaram on Monday morning. While the police claimed it to be the sound from firecrackers, locals insisted there had been a bomb blast.

On the evening of April 1, five people were injured in a blast in the Sherganj locality of the town. Another incident took place in the Mochi Toli locality near a mosque. Sasaram is the district headquarters of Rohtas.

Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) R. S. Bhatti inspected the affected areas in Biharsharif. He visited the spot where a youth died in firing. He also visited Gagan Diwan Masjid, where the violence reportedly originated. Later, he held a meeting with police officials of Nalanda district.  

An unidentified body with severe wounds was found in the Bazaar Samiti locality on Monday evening, raising the casualties in Biharsharif to two. The body has been sent to Patna for post mortem.

According to the police, 130 persons have been arrested in Biharsharif and 43 persons have been arrested in Sasaram. First Information Reports (FIR) have been lodged in Biharsharif (15 FIRs) and Sasaram (three FIRs). 

Paramilitary forces have been deployed in the affected areas. In Biharsharif, Section 144 of the CrPc has been imposed to maintain peace. Flag marches were carried out in the sensitive areas, which included members of peace committees. 

ALSO READ | Communal tensions in two Bihar towns post-Ram Navami

Rohtas District Magistrate Dharmendra Kumar told The Hindu that the situation is under control in Sasaram and the police were camping in all the areas that were affected by communal violence on Ram Navami.

On the alleged bomb blast of Monday morning near a mosque, Mr. Kumar said, “It was not a bomb blast. It was a [fire-] cracker. Following the disturbance at some places, people misunderstood it as a bomb but it was wrong information. The other blast was a bomb blast, which the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) team has confirmed, [and] in which five people were injured. The investigation is on [to find out] how the blast happened. As far as the suspension of Internet service is concerned, it will continue for the next two days.”

Internet services have also been suspended in Nalanda district till April 4 to maintain law and order in the State.

“The situation Nalanda town is normal and no big incidents have taken place so far. Normalcy is being returned to the town and we are encouraging the shopkeepers to open their shops. Though Section 144 is imposed, people can go to purchase essential commodities like medicines, milk and other important things. Several chats are found in the mobile phones of those who have been arrested. We are investigating this front. Total 130 [persons] have been arrested and CCTV footage is also being checked for further investigation,” Nalanda District Magistrate Shashank Shubhankar said.

There was chaos in the State Assembly over the issue. Opposition BJP leaders accused the Nitish Kumar government of allowing communal tension in the State.

“The government is doing politics of appeasement by allowing riots in the State. There was a peace committee meeting the before shobha yatra during Ram Navami. Despite that, stones were pelted on the procession. The government is taking action against Hindus only. Muslims are being protected. We will not tolerate politics of appeasement. A senior officer of the Bihar Government is protecting the rioters. He is a corrupt officer and under his guidance, madrasas have become safe zones for terror activities. The Chief Minister is saving that officer. The Chief Minister should resign and a judicial probe should take place,” Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Vijay Kumar Sinha said.

Sasaram MP Chedi Paswan on Monday wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the violence in Sasaram. In the letter, Mr. Paswan asked why the blast, in which six people were injured, had taken place on the eve of Mr. Shah’s scheduled visit to Bihar.

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