PATNA: With 26 people, several of them poor Dalits, having been arrested for the attack on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s convoy, the Opposition parties on Sunday accused the government of “harassing” the Dalits and demanded that the arrested villagers be immediately released.
The ruling JD(U), BJP and LJP described Friday’s incident at Nandan village in Buxar district as a “premeditated act of violence” aimed at causing physical harm to Kumar, who is also national president of JD(U). Bricks and stones were pelted at Kumar’s convoy by scores of villagers, many of them Dalit women, when the CM was on his way to address a public meeting nearby.
Senior RJD leader Jagadanand Singh and Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) chief Pappu Yadav of visited Nandan village and spoke to villagers. Both leaders denied the involvement of any Opposition party in the attack and criticised the arrest of 26 villagers over the past two days.
“The government is harassing the poor Dalits to conceal the wrongdoing of the administrative machinery. The poor, Dalit villagers should be released immediately,” said Jagadanand Singh. He also accused policemen of brutally beating up several men and women who had no role in the attack on the convoy.
Pappu Yadav, who is the MP from Madhepura, said the villagers were angry about deficiencies in civic development work and that the government’s organs had failed to sense their angst. “The attack was spontaneous, but the poor, Dalit villagers are being harassed. I will raise this issue in Lok Sabha. A probe should be conducted into this incident by a sitting high court judge,” said Yadav.
“Stones and bricks were showered at the CM’s convoy when he was about to get ouf of his car to speak to the villagers. These stones and bricks were stored on the first floors of the houses lining the road. It is clear that this premeditated act of violence aimed at eliminating Nitish Kumar,” said JD(U) general secretary Sanjay Jha.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said it appeared that “some people” from RJD, Bihar’s main Opposition as the single largest party in the Assembly, were involved in the attack. “Footage of the incident aired on TV channels makes it clear that the act was part of a conspiracy,” added Modi.
Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishore said the accused have been interrogated and that the probe report would be submitted to the government shortly.