Former Bhartiya Janata Party legislator from Bihar’s Sasaram, district headquarter of Rohtas, Jawahar Prasad was arrested late on April 28 night and forwarded to judicial custody on Saturday for two weeks in connection with a case related to communal violence which had rocked Sasaram town after Ram Navami procession on March 31.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said “irrespective of party affiliations, those found involved, would be arrested”.
Jawahar Prasad has been five-time MLA from Sasaram since 1990 but, was denied a ticket in the last 2020 Assembly elections.
“A local court in Rohtas had issued non-bailable arrest warrant against 28 people, including the former MLA in a case related with communal violence in Sasaram and the police arrested the MLA along with another person on Friday nigh,” Rohtas superintendent of police Binit Kumar told The Hindu over phone.
“We’re conducting a raid to nab other 26 people,” he added.
Over a dozen people had got injured and several were taken into custody following communal violence after Ram Navami procession in Sasaram town on March 31. The former BJP MLA Jawahar Prasad was allegedly among those who were said to be instrumental in mobilising the mob during the procession which pelted stones at members of other communities in Sasaram town.
Apart from Sasaram, communal violence had also flared up in Nalanda and other places in the State following Ram Navami procession in those areas.
Later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was to address a public meeting in Sasaram on April 2, had to cancel the event in the wake of promulgation of prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC in the district town following the violence. The district administration, though, denied that section 144 was imposed in the town, but a police official was caught on camera announcing on mic that section 144 has been imposed in the town and appealing to people not to assemble in groups outside.
Mr. Shah, however, addressed another public meeting at Hisua in Nawada on the same day. The BJP leaders in the State accused the State Government for imposing Section 144 in Sasaram town to cancel Mr. Shah’s public meeting.
Meanwhile, the BJP leaders in Bihar have slammed Nitish Kumar-led government in the State for “falsely implicating” party leader and former MLA Jawahar Prasad in the case.
“The Nitish Kumar government has made Jawahar Prasad a scapegoat for the Ram Navami violence in Sasaram. Mr Prasad is an aged person having served five terms in assembly as an MLA,” said Nikhil Anand, national general secretary of BJP’s Other Backward Class (OBC) Morcha.
Senior state BJP leader and party’s Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi too charged the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government for “putting BJP in dock by arresting party leader Jawahar Prasad in connection with Sasaram communal violence case”.
In response, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told media persons in Patna, “The police have been doing their job and all those found to be involved in the violence, irrespective of their party affiliations, would be arrested.”
Earlier, after communal violence had broken out in Sasaram and Nalanda, Mr. Kumar had said that all this was “not normal”.