Communal clashes across 10 districts in Bihar were premeditated with Islamophobic songs being played during Ram Navami processions, claims a fact-finding report compiled by a group of activists and journalists. On 3 April, the team, comprising seven members, had visited Samastipur, Nalanda, Nawada and Aurangabad to take stock of the situation.
Here are some of the key observations of the United Against Hate team:
One person died and 65 were injured in communal clashes that took place in days preceding the Ram Navami processions in Bihar. The police later arrested 215 people, including Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat, who was granted bail on 9 April.
Principal Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani admitted that they were aware of the presence of a cache of swords. He also told the members of the United Against Hate team:
We were aware of swords being present at the processions in large numbers. Don’t know exactly how many. Swords were never seen before at the processions.Amir Subhani, Bihar Principal Secretary (Home)
The fact-finding panel has questioned the role of the district administration and has asked for a judicial probe. “We demand the accountability of public officials and elected representatives who participated, instigated and encouraged the riots be fixed and should be given exemplary punishment,” says the report.