PATNA: Millions of people in Bihar stepped out of their homes and stood in lines holding each other's hands across the state on Sunday in an attempt to form the world’s longest human chain to showcase their resolve to fight against the evils of dowry and child marriage.
Responding to a call by the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government, people from all walks of life joined the gigantic human chain that stretched for an estimated 13,660 km and crisscrossed all the 38 districts. They stood holding hands from 12 noon till 12:30 PM. More than 4 crore people participated in the event, said senior officials, even as figures of attendance were being collected from the districts.
Kumar inaugurated the event at Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan by letting a bunch of balloons go up in the air and then standing in line with a large number of people gathered there. He was accompanied by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, several ministers and senior police and administration officials.
A sunny noon after weeks of biting cold and foggy mornings came as a shot in the arms for the event. Forty drones fitted with cameras were engaged in taking aerial photos and videos of the event across the state. A team from Limca Book of Records that arrived in Patna a day before also kept recording the event.
“I thank the people of Bihar for wholeheartedly taking part in the human chain and resolving to end the social ills of dowry and child marriages in the state forever,” said Nitish Kumar after the event concluded. In a sly criticism aimed at the opposition RJD and Congress that stayed off the event, he said: “Those opposing it are hitting their own feet with an axe”.
The previous human chain organised across Bihar on January 21, 2017 aimed at spreading awareness about prohibition, which Nitish Kumar’s then grand alliance government had imposed on the state in April 2016. Leaders and workers of RJD and Congress, then part of the government, had enthusiastically taken part in that event. The human chain in 2017 had stretched for 11,477 km with about 3.11 crore people participating.
“We cannot change society merely by enacting laws. This kind of campaigns and mass-based efforts to spread awareness go a long way in achieving the desired goals,” said deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP.