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CIMA Gallary

Nitish sees victory in climbdown

- MNS men held for vandalising theatre screening Bhojpuri film

Patna/Mumbai, Sept. 5: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was in a triumphant mood today following reports that Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil had conceded that Mumbai police made a mistake in the arrest of Sitamarhi youth Abdul Qadir Mohammed Ansari.

“There is a new tradition of speaking out without understanding a matter. The chief minister of Maharshtra should have read the letter sent by the Bihar DGP before making a comment,” Nitish said while addressing a function to observe Martydom Day in the memory of Bihar’s iconic backward caste leader Jagdev Prasad. “Will the chief ministers of two states communicate through the media?” he asked, stressing that Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan should have got the Mumbai police to answer the Bihar DGP’s letter.

Ansari (19) was picked up by Mumbai crime branch from Sitamarhi for vandalising the Amar Jawan Memorial near Azad Maidan during the August 11 rioting at a rally called against alleged atrocities on minorities in Assam and Myanmar. Following this, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had threatened to brand Biharis “infiltrators” and force them out of Maharashtra if authorities in Bihar took legal action against the men from Mumbai police who picked him up without informing their counterparts in the eastern state. Patil had yesterday conceded that if the information on Ansari’s arrest had been given to the police in Bihar, there would not have been any controversy.

The youth’s arrest and the subsequent letter to Mumbai police had triggered a war of words between the chief ministers of the two states. Nitish had fired the first salvo (after Thackeray’s comment) by alleging that the Congress-led government in Maharashtra had “outsourced governance” to other persons. Chavan then hit back accusing Nitish of indulging in “dirty politics” and defended Ansari’s arrest.

Kumar today justified the Bihar police’s objections. “The police of any state have the right to arrest a wanted person in any other state. But there are rules to be followed. The local police have to be informed, so that there is no confusion.”

Bihar deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “The Bihar DGP had just raised objections about the manner of arrests. But the Maharashtra CM sought to make a political issue out of the matter.”

On the other hand, 11 MNS members were today arrested in Mumbai for vandalising a theatre screening a Bhojpuri film last evening. Members of the party’s Thane wing had on Tuesday evening protested to the screening of Bhojuri film, Ek Bihari, Sau pe Bhaari, at Chitralaya theatre in Boisar. “They protested the screening outside the theatre by blackening the posters of the film,” said an officer of Boisar police station.