Bihar police on Saturday arrested the convener of the Bajrang Dal’s Nalanda district unit in connection with the Ram Navami violence in Biharsharif town, forcing him to surrender by starting to attach his properties with a local court’s permission.
Kundan Kumar surrendered when the police began taking away furniture from his house at Biharsharif’s Ayodhya Nagar locality. He was arrested and sent to jail custody.
The Bihar government’s move marks a contrast with Yogi Adityanath’s policy in Uttar Pradesh, where property attachment has been used to target dissenters against the BJP-Sangh.
However, allegations had been levelled that those attachments were done largely without the necessary court permissions, prompting the apex court to castigate the state administration.
On Saturday, Nalanda superintendent of police Ashok Mishra told The Telegraph: “We began the property attachment process with the court’s permission against nine accused on Saturday. Eight of them, including Kundan, have surrendered under pressure from the police.”
“Kundan is the Bajrang Dal chief of Nalanda district. He is accused of gathering a huge crowd in the name of a Ram Navami procession in Biharsharif without proper permission. That mob went out of control and violence started.”
A young man was killed in the communal violence of March 31 in Biharsharif, which witnessed arson, looting and the vandalism of shops, homes and educational and religious establishments belonging to both communities.
Similar violence occurred during Ram Navami processions at Sasaram town in Rohtas district. Sources said Kundan had led the Ram Navami procession in Biharsharif, some of whose participants allegedly attacked a mosque and damaged its entrance.
The administration has registered seven FIRs on its own in connection with the violence and arrested 130 people so far. Kundan claimed he had been framed despite being with the officer in charge of the “Bihar” police station — a police station in Biharsharif — on the day of violence.
“I have surrendered because my family’s property was being attached. The (violent) incidents happened because of the inadequate arrangements made by the administration,” Kundan told local reporters while giving himself up to the police at his home.
“I had taken permission (for the procession) from the administration. I have photos, videos and other evidence…. My three drones were flying and they clearly show (stockpiles of) bricks and stones on rooftops in the area.”
He added: “This entire episode reeks of a conspiracy. There were many people claiming to be Bajrang Dal workers whom I had never seen before.”
It took over a week for the situation in Biharsharif to become normal. Internet services in Biharsharif and Sasaram were restored on Saturday. The BJP came out in support of Kundan and accused the government of falsely implicating people.
“I think the Bihar government is indulging in a joke. Chief minister Nitish Kumar is home minister of the state, and the incident (violence) happened because of administrative irresponsibility. Nitish can implicate anyone — it’s an old habit with him,” Bihar BJP president Samrat Choudhary said. He demanded a free and fair probe and the quick submission of its report.
Nitish told reporters: “The administration is doing its job. We are also looking at the destruction of the properties of many people (during the violence at Biharsharif and Sasaram). We will do something for their losses.”