CPI(ML) Bihar MLA Faces Threats in All-Party Meeting For Opposing Communal Propaganda Against Minorities

It is an old trick of the BJP and RSS to spread communal frenzy through rumour-mongering under the cover of festivals. During Durga Puja and Moharram this year, communal tension was visible in several districts of Bihar, in which attacks were made on the minority community and their shops and property were either burnt or looted. Communal riots were consciously incited in many places including Piro and Gopalganj (Bhojpur district), Bihariganj (Madhepura), Kanhauli (Sitamarhi), Buniyadganj and Purnea (Gaya), Parsagaon (Supoul), Barun (Aurangabad), Warsaleeganj (Nawada), and Turkauliya Boring Chowk (Eastern Champaran). The attitude of the Bihar government – that won elections in the name of an alternative to the communal BJP – in these cases has been indifferent, at best. And in Saran and Piro, some elements having connections with the RJD were directly involved in incidents of incitement and loot.

The Tarari region of Bhojpur district has been the heart of the revolutionary peasants’ struggle. Some years ago the Ranveer Sena perpetrated the Bathani Tola carnage which was both casteist and communal in character, and in 2014 the communal forces tried to divide the CPI(ML) base by inciting dalit youth against Muslims. On 25 October 2014, during the immersion after Laxmi Puja in Sahar the BJP spread false rumours which resulted in communal tension for days. The CPI(ML) had then taken many initiatives against BJP’s poisonous campaign by organizing meetings in many villages.

This time Piro town in Bhojpur was the target of the rioters. Durga idols had been installed at 9 places in Piro bazaar. The route for the idol immersion went past Badi Masjid in the Muslim-populated Piro village and the Yadav-populated basti along the banks of the canal, up to the Gatariya bridge. As they had done in previous years, this year also the minority community cooperated in every way with the procession as the idols were being brought for immersion. The immersion took place peacefully. But on the evening of 12 October when the Moharram procession started, everything started going wrong. The procession started from Milki village and reached Yadav-dominated Dusadhi bazaar when bricks and stones began to be hurled from the roof of the Yamaha showroom, inflicting head injuries on about a dozen people. Bullets were also fired from the terrace of teacher Meena Devi injuring Nanhe Miyan in the thigh. A stampede-like situation ensued. Rumours were spread all around that the Muslims had shouted slogans of “Pakistan Zindabad”. Rioting crowds started collecting near Muslim mohallas. At Milki village the wife of Jalaluddin Ansari wept and called for help but the administration remained a mute spectator.

On 13 October a CPI(ML) team visited the fear-ridden Muslim mohallas and spoke to the injured. The team comprised of MLA Sudama Prasad, former MLA Chandradeep Singh, State committee member Sanjay Kumar, Ajit Kushwaha, Mahesh Singh, Qayamuddin Ansari, and Khairati Khan. The victims told the CPI(ML) team that the slogan “Pakistan Zindabad” (Long Live Pakistan) was not raised anywhere; this was purely a false rumour. Yes, the slogan “Islam Zindabad” (Long Live Islam) was being raised.

As the team members were meeting the victims, news came of a Tata 407 vehicle belonging to a Muslim and a tempo being set afire at Piro bus stand and Khairi Tiwaridih respectively. Rioters had blockaded the roads coming to Piro town from Nonadih and Charpokhri and were hunting down and beating up persons from the minority community. Apart from attacking vehicles belonging to the minority community, the rioters also attacked trains and bust the administration’s internet services.

On 14 October the administration held a hasty meeting in Piro thana. MLA Sudama Prasad represented the Party at the meeting, but the minority community boycotted the meeting saying that it would serve no purpose until the perpetrators and rioters are arrested. Even after efforts by the administration no one from the Muslim community (except RJD leader Adib Rizvi) participated in the meeting which was conducted in the presence of the IG, DIG, DM, and SP. The BJP, RJD and Congress representatives, strangely, seemed to be speaking in one voice at the meeting, proving the extent to which the BJP-RSS campaign of communal poison has spread. They both said that these incidents had occurred because the Muslims had raised slogans of “Pakistan Zindabad.”

CPI(ML) MLA Sudama Prasad said in the meeting that it was very shameful that the the administration was taking no action against the rioters. Every year peace committees are formed during the Puja and yet attacks on Muslims do not cease. He said that the participants in the procession say that the slogan “Islam Zindabad” was raised not “Pakistan Zindabad”; what is wrong in that? The BJP people are deliberately spreading the false rumour that “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans were raised, to paint the minority community as pro-Pakistan and anti-India. As soon as Sudama Prasad said this, the meeting exploded. The leaders and workers of BJP, RJD, Congress and LJP all got up and started shouting that Sudama Prasad is unfit to be an MLA; he is a liar and is biased. Some of them even took up a chair to beat Sudama Prasad. The guard allotted to Comrade Sudama had to intervene to protect him from being beaten up. The members continued their misbehavior even in front of the top administrative officials present – none of whom took any action. It is a symptom of our intolerant times that an elected representative should be attacked in this manner inside a police station by representatives of ‘secular’ and ‘communal’ parties alike, for setting facts straight against communal propaganda.

Now the other Parties are busy spreading the canard that the CPI(ML) is ‘anti-Hindu’: opposition to communal propaganda and defence of minorities in a situation of communal violence is being equated with being ‘anti-Hindu.’

CPI(ML) has decided to hold a massive Jan Ekta (People’s Unity) Rally in Piro on 26 October, the death anniversary of Comrade Ram Naresh Ram who was a beacon for social change.

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