Ram Navami violence: 77 arrested; mob vandalises madrasa in Bihar Sharif

One person dies in fresh violence on Saturday evening; Internet services suspended in Nalanda district; Madarsa library housing over 4,500 books of Islamic literature burnt in communal violence, alleges imam

April 03, 2023 12:00 am | Updated 12:07 pm IST - Nalanda

Madrasa Azizia in Bihar Sharif after the violence.

Madrasa Azizia in Bihar Sharif after the violence. | Photo Credit: Nagendra Kumar Singh

Seventy-seven people have been arrested in connection with the violence that erupted at Bihar Sharif in the State’s Nalanda district during Ram Navami festivities, the police said on Sunday.

Prohibitory orders have been imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC in the area. Internet services have been suspended in the district and the ban is expected to be in place for the next 48 hours. One person died in fresh violence on Saturday evening, the police said.

“So far, 77 people have been arrested and 12 FIRs lodged. A flag march was conducted to maintain peace in the area. Adequate paramilitary personnel have been deployed to control the situation,” said Nalanda Superintendent of Police Ashok Mishra.

The police said Gulshan Kumar succumbed to bullet injuries, while another seriously injured person is undergoing treatment in the State capital, Patna. People have been advised to stay indoors.

Also Read | Categorisation of terrorism on the basis of motivation is ‘dangerous’, says India

Library set on fire 

An armed mob of around 1,000 people vandalised a madrasa in Bihar Sharif’s Murarpur locality and set fire to its library, said Mohammad Siyabuddin, the imam of the mosque and caretaker of the madrasa. The 110-year-old library with a collection of over 4,500 books was reduced to ashes in the attack, he said.

Also read |Amit Shah speaks to Bihar Governor on communal violence, to send additional forces

The mosque’s minar (tower) was damaged and the district administration is carrying out repairs. “We had just finished Friday prayers when violence erupted at Gagan Diwan locality near Hotel City Palace. A mob then entered the madrasa and started hurling stones. A member of the mosque’s peace committee was threatened to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. They threw petrol bombs into the mosque and the library, and set vehicles parked on the premises on fire,” Mr. Siyabuddin said.

The police did not reach the spot till 11 p.m. even though the attack took place in the afternoon, he added.

“Two children were trapped in a room filled with smoke. If I had not reached there on time, we would have lost them,” Mr. Siyabuddin said.

Petrol bombs found at the Madrasa Azizia in Bihar Sharif.

Petrol bombs found at the Madrasa Azizia in Bihar Sharif. | Photo Credit: Nagendra Kumar Singh

When The Hindu reached the spot, petrol bombs were found in the library and outside its 22 classrooms. The madrasa spread over six acres with 450 students, was closed for Ramzan, but the miscreants entered the campus by breaking the lock.

“It is unfortunate that rare books were burnt in the attack, which was carried out with the intention of hampering the education of children,“ said Sarfaraz Mallik, an advocate at Bihar Sharif court who resides close to the madrasa.

Mohan Bahadur, a guard at the madrasa, said the mob attacked him, but he managed to flee. “They were armed with swords and rods, and were chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. I ran away from the spot, but they took ₹3,500 from my room.”

Shops torched

An eyewitness said the violence broke out during a Ram Navami procession from Shram Kalyan Maidan to Mani Ram Akhada on Friday. The mob also allegedly placed saffron flags on several shops in the area and torched them.

Shatrughan Prasad, a resident of Bihar Sharif, said the area has not witnessed such violence since 1981 when 45 people died in communal clashes. “Then, Jagannath Mishra was the Chief Minister and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had visited the riot-affected areas,” he said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.