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Citizens forum meets Lalu over Bihar communal tension

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Patna: Following communal tension in Bihar’s Saran district, a citizen’s forum for communal harmony and peace on Tuesday met former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, whose RJD is a major ally of the ruling Grand Alliance.

Lalu Prasad assured the forum members that the state administration will take action against anti-social elements involved in the communal trouble, according to Satish Kumar, a member of the delegation.

Lalu told the delegation that maintaining communal harmony is the main priority of the Grand Alliance government in Bihar. “Our government will not allow communal Hindutva forces to spread communal trouble and hatred,” Neelu, another member of the delegation, quoted him as saying.

The forum members were upset at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for not giving them time for a meeting.

Lalu also spoke to the Saran district magistrate and instructed him to take quick and tough action against troublemakers.

“Lalu told us that the communal tension was part of a well designed conspiracy by communal forces, particularly Bajrang Dal and VHP, after an objectionable video clip was posted on Facebook by a Muslim youth,” Rohit Kumar said.

According to reports reaching here, the situation in Saran is under control but tension is still in the air. Schools and colleges opened on Tuesday and markets were also reopened, a district official said.

The administration said that internet services will continue to be suspended till further orders. All cyber cafes also remained closed.

The district officials said heavy deployment of security forces will continue for the next few days.

So far 34 people have been arrested and nearly two dozen FIRs lodged by police.

A Bihar Police team was on Monday sent to Bengaluru to arrest the prime accused behind an objectionable video clip posted on Facebook.

According to reports, a gang of motorcycle-borne Bajrang Dal and VHP activists attacked shops and houses belonging to the minority groups at several places. In retaliation some shops belonging to Hindus were also attacked in Chapra, the district headquarters of Saran.

The trouble began when some youths of Balha village under Parsa police station and other youths from Maker village blocked roads last week to protest against police failure to take action against the accused who had posted an objectionable video clip online, including WhatsApp.

The trouble escalated and angry mobs attacked the houses and shops of Muslims on Friday. Some youths attacked the house of the prime accused, which led to the communal tension, an official said.

On Friday, violent clashes took place between both communities and shops and houses were targeted at several places. The district administration issued prohibitory orders under section 144.

On Saturday too, violent clashes were reported and VHP and Bajrang Dal called a day long bandh forcing shops, schools and colleges to remain closed.

Over a dozen people including policemen were injured.

–IANS

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