NITISH Kumar talks big about a ‘Sangh-free India’, but his attitude towards the BJP and the Sangh Parivar’s communal agenda is one of opportunism. On the one hand, as Nitish Kumar was extending a cordial welcome to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Bihar BJP State President Mangal Pandey at the Patna Ram Navami procession on the occasion of Ram Navami, at that very time the Bajrang Dal was boldly fomenting communal violence in several areas of Siwan and Gopalganj. The government’s efforts to monitor and control the violence wreaked by the Bajrang Dal were as good as nil.
On the occasion of a Ram Navami procession on 15 April in Phulwariya (Siwan Sadar) Muslim houses were set afire by the RSS and Bajrang Dal, and a woman Jameela Khatoon was beaten up. An enquiry team of the CPI (ML) comprising District Secretary Naeemuddin Ansari, AIPWA leader Sohila Gupta, and CPI (ML) leader Devendra Ram visited the spot.
The team found that there is a burial ground in the village with a Kali temple next to it which had been the cause of dispute even earlier. During the Ram Navami procession, a Mahaveeri flag was planted inside the burial ground; the Muslim community opposed this and removed the flag. After this, the Muslim bastis were attacked. The houses of the following were burnt: Zafarulla s/o Kuddus Ansari, Abbas Ansari s/o Lateef Ansari, and Ali Ahmad Sai s/o Bakshi Sai. Jameela Khatoon was beaten so brutally that her head was cracked open. Moreover, the administration put the entire blame for the incident on the Muslim community.
The next day members of the Bajrang Dal came out on the streets calling for a closure of the town and creating a climate of fear in the town. The Bajrang Dal indulged in serious violence in 4 different places in the town and rumours were rife. Breaking the atmosphere of fear, the Party took out a peace march on the same day. The peace march started from the Party office under the leadership of Com. Naeemuddin Ansari and culminated in a protest meeting at JP Chowk. Com. Sohila Gupta, Jainath Yadav, Surendra Prasad, Ramji Yadav, and others participated in the march. Leaders and speakers said that along with the BJP, Nitish Kumar is also responsible for the incidents of communal frenzy.
In Gopalganj the Shri Ram Sena took out a procession near the dargah at the time of Namaaz, raising provocative slogans. The Muslim community expressed opposition to this; tensions heightened, resulting in incidents of arson in the town. In Mirganj also, drums were beaten loudly at the time of Namaaz. The Bajrang Dal set fire to about half a dozen motorcycles, looted pavement shops, and tried to establish an atmosphere of fear in the entire area.
In Jharkhand, the BJP Government was fully complicit in the violence unleashed around Ram Navami. From the evening of 15 April communal violence started in different areas in Jharkhand, and rumours were rife on Whatsapp and social media sites. In Bokaro and Hazaribagh curfew was clamped down for 3 to 4 days after incidents of stone pelting and arson. BJP MLA Viranchinarayan Dev played a direct role in inciting tension at Sivandih in Bokaro, where he deliberately incited the Ram Navami procession to pass through Muslim majority areas instead of the route already fixed through consensus.
Hazaribagh is one of the most communally sensitive areas in the State. Here, flowers were being showered from a helicopter on local MP and Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and BJP MLA Naveen Jaiswal; at the same time their followers were inciting tension and violence by taking a procession through Muslim majority areas playing audio tapes with insulting and inflammatory anti-Muslim slogans. The police and administration took no action to control the tension-creators and rumours had already vitiated the atmosphere. Dozens of shops and vehicles were burnt to ashes in the violence which started with stone pelting. More than 100 people were injured. Rumours of several being killed (by Muslims) were spread in Hazaribagh, which proved to be sheer lies. The miscreants floated rumours of 3 persons being killed: Anuj Kumar Sinha (19), Saurabh Kumar (14), and Bhairav Gope (55), of whom two had been killed in 2 separate incidents well before the present tension, and one had possibly died in an akhara due to a weapon injury. The truth is that the Muslim community had nothing to do with any of these 3 incidents.
At Jharki village in Giridih a local BJP official created tension by alleging that 2 fallen flags were the doing of the Muslim community, and the village was converted into a police camp. The BJP leaders rejected the proposal that the villagers should sit together, talk things over, and resolve the issue. A study of the history of communal tensions in all these places reveals that the BJP plans and prepares for the violence well in advance.
After the Raghuvar Das government came to power, close to a 100 violent communal incidents have taken place in Jharkhand. Last month on 17 March members of the Goraksha Samiti murdered Majlum Ansari (32) and Imtiaz han (12) at Jhabar village in Latehar by hanging them from a tree. At that time the State Chief Minister Raghuvar Das defended the murders by saying that it might be a case related to cattle-smuggling. Further, the police and administration, instead of apprehending the killers, diverted the enquiry by registering false cases against cattle traders belonging to the Muslim community. It was only the widespread protests against these murders in Latehar as well as across the entire country that forced the Raghuvar government to back down. Despite this, the Chief Minister neither visited the spot nor met the family members of the victims. The callous attitude of the government is obvious from the Rs 1 lakh compensation it offered, which was rejected by the victim families.
The open protection given to communal hate-mongers can be seen everywhere in the State. The SHO of of Chanho thana (Ranchi) made a youth alight from the auto he was riding in, brutally beat him and left him seriously injured; the SHO had been informed by some persons that this youth was in possession of beef, whereas the police found nothing on him.
A similar incident also took place in Chakradharpur. Last year between September and December Ranchi saw communal violence for a total of more than 15 days. Earlier, in the communal violence which started in Jamshedpur on 20 July 2015, shops belonging o minorities were burnt and looted. In the communal violence that took place last year during Dussehra-Muharram in Hazaribagh, one youth belonging to the minority community died during police firing.
The Raghuvar Das government came to power in Jharkhand as the first BJP government with a full majority. Recently this government signed MoUs of 50,000 crores in order to hand over the resources of the State to Adani-Ambani. However, the increasing protests against at several places against the loot of land succeeded in blocking these evil intentions of the government. The real face of this government is rapidly being exposed, causing the government as well as the BJP to panic. Now they are unhesitatingly employing communal ploys. But these are being met with resistance. In Latehar, for instance, thousands of people came out on to the streets against the lynching of two Muslim boys, and forced the government to take action. The people’s initiatives against the violence of the Ram Navami incidents are clearly visible.
Serial Killing of CPI(ML) Leaders Continues In Beguserai
ON the night of 15 April 65 year old senior CPI (ML) leader Com. Rameshwar Paswan known as Garo Paswan was killed in Chakaewasa village, Cheriya Bariyapur in Beguserai district, by feudal criminals under the protection of JDU and RJD. Comrade Garo Paswan was from the Mahadalit community, and had been leading struggles of Dalits to secure possession of lands allotted to them.
Just a few days earlier in the same district, two young Party leaders Mahesh Ram and Rampravesh Ram were brutally killed by criminals protected by the BJP in Maksudanpur of Baliya block. In both the murders, land was the basic issue.
Com. Rameshwar Paswan (Garo Paswan) was murdered at night while he was asleep. After visiting the spot, Party leader Chandradev Verma said that Com. Paswan was sleeping on a bench under a neem tree. At around 1 o’clock in the night, 3 persons on motorcycles started driving around the tola and then shot 5 bullets at Com. Paswan. The 9 mm bullet killed Com. Paswan on the spot. In protest against this brutal murder, a dharna was organized in front of the Beguserai DM on 20 April and Protest Day was observed across the entire State.
In this village, around 106 acres of land owned by Savitri Devi (which was declared as ceiling land) was distributed among 85 parcha holders in 1990-91. However, the poor did not get possession of the land in the true sense. Meanwhile, landlords sold 20 acres of the land. In 2000 the then DM P Ramaiyya (who later became the Scheduled Caste chairman) revoked the ceiling when the landlords presented false land documents. But the parchas could not be nullified and the parcha holders kept on paying taxes. Later, the poor of that village associated themselves with the CPI (ML).
At the end of 2009 the fight for possession of that land began. At the end of 2010 the poor held a 3 day dharna in front of the then DM Jitendra Shrivastav. Under pressure from the concerted agitation by the poor, the DM cancelled the orders of the former DM, after which the poor got possession of 86 acres of land and even started farming on that land. A case is also going on in the High Court against the decision of the former DM.
Savitri Devi’s son Ashok Singh, who is associated with the RJD, has been regularly having clashes with the poor and he wants to evict the poor from this land and grab it once again.
On 23 April, AISA and CPIML activists in Delhi protested at Bihar Bhavan against the serial killings of CPI(ML) activists. The Delhi Police roughed them up and detained them for several hours. Earlier in that week, AISA activists had also burnt the effigy of the Bihar Government on the JNU campus, to protest the killings.