Fringe terror strikes couples
Valentine's day vandalism in Muzaffarpur
Muzaffarpur: Men and women on motorbikes, carrying saffron flags, sticks and iron rods, terrorised young couples celebrating Valentine's Day, tried to vandalise a mall, and held Muzaffarpur town to ransom on Wednesday, forcing police to stage a flag march through many localities.
The "protesters" reached Jubba Sahni Park on the southern end of Muzaffarpur, around 72km north of Patna, and chased young boys and girls, many of whom had come with flowers. Many couples had to take shelter in nearby restaurants and business centres.
Some couples were made to do sit-ups and even thrashed in full public view. Their repeated requests not to humiliate them fell on deaf ears. "Some men slapped the boys and girls, who had no option than to flee in haste," said a restaurant owner.
The "protesters" then exchanged blows with the private security guards deployed at a nearby mall. The security guards chased those who attempted to vandalise the building. A major backlash was averted due to the timely intervention of personnel from the Mithanpura police station. The "protesters" dispersed silently when the cops arrived.
"The activists of Durga Vahini, Yuva Vahini and Bajrang Dal had threatened that couples should not roam around the city roads on Valentine's Day," said a local resident. "While many young couples preferred not to venture out of their homes, the few who defied the diktat were humiliated."
The activists of the saffron outfits were least bothered with the huge presence of security personnel deployed at public places to avert clashes on the occasion, another resident said.
"We do have the right to protect the culture of the land," a Bajrang Dal member said. "We will continue to protest the celebrations on the occasion of Valentine's Day across the state."
Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vivek Kumar ordered the special task force personnel to stage flag marches in "vulnerable" localities such as Club Road, Mithanpura road, Pani Tanki Chowk, Kalyani and Motijheel. The deployment of the STF did save many couples from being manhandled by the saffron outfits' members.
Mithanpura police station house officer Binay Kumar said that an FIR has been lodged against unknown persons.
"Efforts are on to ascertain the identity of the troublemakers. They will be brought to book shortly," the SHO said.
Such protests were a routine affair on Valentine's Day, he added.