Agnipath protest: War of words breaks out between JDU and BJP in Bihar

Law Kumar MishraUpdated: Saturday, June 18, 2022, 11:29 PM IST
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Patna: Jan Adhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav leads a protest during the Bihar Bandh called against Centres Agnipath scheme for short-term appointment in armed forces, in Patna, Saturday, June 18, 2022 | -

PATNA: The collateral damage of the Agnipath violence manifested in a war of words in the NDA with the JD-U and the HAM openly supporting the protestors during the Bihar bandh on Saturday.

State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal took offence, convened a press conference and claimed that his party was being targeted by the protestors; he further lamented that the police and the administration were mute spectators when offices and residences of BJP leaders were attacked.

He further alleged that the police did not take recourse to a minimal lathi charge to disperse the agitators; nor did it fire tear gas shells to fend off the protestors. Result: the agitators had a free run while attacking the BJP offices in different districts.

Jaiswal mentioned that BJP offices at five district headquarters were set on fire and the residences of deputy chief minister and his own were attacked by the mob; still, the police did not react.

"The administration failed everywhere, there was no semblance of a government", Jaiswal alleged.

Perforce, to ward of criticism, the Bihar police on Saturday enhanced the security cover of 12 BJP leaders, including its legislators; they have all been given Y grade security.

There was sharp reaction from the JDU, the junior partner in the NDA government headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar. The National president of the JD-U, Rajiv Ranjan Singh, and Lallan Singh, in a strongly worded comment, said: Sanjay Jaiswal has lost his mental balance. He should analyse why the BJP was the target of the agitated youth and students. Nitish Kumar is known for good governance and the state police acted wisely on Friday. The BJP leaders should not blame others for the anger of the youth and students."

‘‘Ask the agitators, why they attacked BJP offices,’’ Lallan said while replying to the charge of Jaiswal that it was pre-planned attack on party leaders and party offices.

Upendra Kushwaha, chairman of parliamentary board of JDU, too demanded that the Agnipath scheme should be rolled back.

BIHAR MOB FIRED AT

During the Opposition sponsored Bihar bandh on Saturday, the police fired on the mob at Tarenga and Chapra. At Taregna railway station --15 km from Patna -- students of two coaching institutes came to the platform after attending classes and torched thee station buildings. They are alleged to have fired on the GRP staff also. The police, too, fired 100 rounds to disperse the students, 35 of whom were arrested.

At Chapra, too, the police fired on the mob resulting in a spontaneous bandh.

At Tarapur in Munger district, a block development officer became the target of the agitators who set on fire his official vehicle and attacked him.

At Jahanabad, a bus and truck were set ablaze by the mob outside the police station. The police picket was stoned at Jhajha and five policemen were injured in an attack by the agitators at Siwan.

For the second day in a row, the Railways cancelled long distance trains, including Patna-Delhi Rajdhani, Sampoorna Kranti and Magadh Express. There will be no movement of trains during day hours; scheduled trains will run only between 8 pm and 4 am.

Opposition leaders Chirag Paswan and Pappu Yadav who tried to join the Bihar bandh processions at Hartali Chauk near Secretariat were detained by the police. There was little vehicle movement in the state capital and on the highways, as private bus operators suspended their services.

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