Violent mob attacks Hindus, vandalises shops over Rs 200 in Bihar

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Bihar’s Dahoda village of Manigachhi block in Darbhanga district witnessed severe communal violence on February 2, after a petty dispute over a sum of Rs 200 between two people of different communities was falsely associated to the newly introduced Citizenship Amendment law and NRC.

People belonging to the Muslim community allegedly resorted to arson, stone-pelting and vandalism causing severe damage to public property and life. Many local Hindus were reportedly chased and attacked by the Muslims in the area.

On receiving the information, police from several police stations including Manigachhi, Nehra, Bajitpur, Behera, Sakatpur reached the spot. Six policemen were also reportedly injured in the violence.

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In what transpired on February 2, a small argument broke out between one local Hindu named Gunanand and a Muslim mechanic named Mohammad Murshid over a transaction of Rs 200. According to reports, after Murshid refused to pay back a sum of Rs 200 which he owed to Gunanand, the later spilt mud on Murshid’s shop.

Miffed over this, Murshid reportedly invoked the Citizenship Amendment law and NRC here which aggravated the dispute, confirmed an eyewitness to OpIndia. Many local Muslims at this point got involved and started resorting to violence, stone-pelting and vandalism. According to locals, heavy stone-pelting was carried out from the Mosque in the area. Many Hindus of the village were reportedly chased and thereafter attacked in the ensuing violence.

This petty dispute over a small sum of money, which was needlessly linked to CAA and NRC, within no time turned communal.

Some of the people amongst the violent mob also allegedly ransacked and looted the local shops. The situation became so grave that most of the shopkeepers of the market closed their shops and fled. According to initial reports, the damages caused were to the tune of Rs 4 lakhs. However, right now people say that this estimate may increase. The surveys conducted by the local administration have identified around 21 damaged shops until now.

According to the report of Dainik Jagran, local legislator Lalit Kumar Yadav reached the spot and tried to placate the situation by conducting a peace march there. Congratulating the administration for effectively bringing the situation in control, Yadav appealed to the locals to maintain peace. He requested people to cooperate with the administration to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.

According to reports, the local administration has also appealed to form a peace committee to keep the situation in the district under control. They have asked the locals to identify those spreading any sorts of rumours and intimate the local administration about it immediately. The villagers also demanded deputation of the police force along with the magistrate in the village till the atmosphere became normal.

According to the latest information, an FIR has been registered against the rioters. 23 have been named and 150 unknown people have been made accused on the basis of an application from sub-inspector Ramashankar Pandey. Moreover, out of the 23 people named, 18 have been sent to judicial custody on Monday, said SDPO Umeshwar Chaudhary.

At present, efforts are being made to set up a meeting of the peace committee to normalize the village atmosphere. On Monday, the meeting of this committee was chaired by BDO Manoj Kumar Rai. It appealed to all people to maintain mutual harmony and brotherhood.

Recently, rumours regarding CAA and NRC have led to stray incidents of violence not only in Bihar but many other states in the country. On January 26, a team of researchers from Lucknow mistaken as surveyors for NRC were held hostage by locals in Bihar’s Darbhanga. As the 12-member team, which included four women, reached the village and began visiting households to collect information, word spread that they were NRC surveyors.

Furious and panicked villagers took them to the Jamalpur police station, where the situation was diffused and it was later found that they were working with a US-based PhD scholar from the Yale University.

In a similar incident, the house of a 20-year-old Chumki Khatun was set on fire by a mob in West Bengal’s Birbhum over rumours that she was collecting data for NRC. As per reports, Khatun worked with an NGO on a contract where it was training rural women to use smart phones effectively. As part of her training, Khatun collected some general data. This fuelled the rumours that she was collecting data for NRC. However, the police had denied that the incident was linked to NRC.

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