PATNA: A clash, involving about of stone pelters, took place among hundreds of people of two communities in Bihar’s southern town of Nawada on Tuesday after unidentified anti-social elements allegedly tore up Ram Navami posters pasted across the town.
Given Nawada’s vulnerability to communal tension, the district police jumped into action and promptly brought the situation under control. With Ram Navami scheduled on Wednesday and elaborate arrangements having been made by various organisations to celebrate it here, police beefed up security.
Nawada is the constituency of firebrand BJP MP and Union minister Giriraj Singh. It had witnessed communal tension in 2013 arising out of the food served at an eatery in the town. Singh was present in the town during Tuesday’s communal flare-up.
“Tensions were reported at Sadbhavna Chowk, where a demonstration by a group of people was on and some people from another community threw stones at them. Then there was an exchange of stones by both sides. Swift police deployment brought the situation under control,” said Nawada SP Vikas Barman.
Police had to open fire in the air to disperse the mobs that had started pelting stones, damaging vehicles and setting nearby shops on fire. The National Highway 31 was also blocked for an hour by hundreds of people, who demanded the arrest of those who tore up the Ram Navami posters. The blockade led to a pileup of vehicles for several kilometers at both ends of the highway. Police intervened and ended the road blockade after persuading the agitating people that an investigation would be carried out.
Giriraj Singh, when informed of the incident, reached the spot and tried to persuade angry people of both sides to desist from vandalism and help the smooth celebration of Ram Navami, said sources.
Anticipating communal tension during Ram Navami, Bihar has been put on high alert. The Centre has provided Bihar four companies of paramilitary forces, though the State government had demanded six, to deal with possible communal tension during the festival.