Truth of Bihar

Manufactured Riots, Fractured Community​​

A special four-part report on unabated communal violence that engulfed one-third of Bihar for a fortnight.


'Outsiders’ Behind Bihar Communal Violence, Reveals Investigation

By Rounak Kumar Gunjan

Outsiders were involved in planning and executing communal riots in Bihar, the state police and intelligence departments have found in their investigations.

Reports that have emerged from the initial investigations by senior police and intelligence officers, which have been accessed by News18, are undeniable proof of how communal riots, which unfolded in the state between March 17 and March 30, were manufactured.

These are some of the details on the riots that senior intelligence operatives shared with News18. Some details have been withheld for security reasons.

1) At least three men were identified among mobs that stoked violence in three different districts — Aurangabad, Samastipur and Munger.

2) Intelligence officers also identified three vehicles — two black Hero Splendour bikes and one white Mahindra Scorpio — that were used by the rioters in these districts, strongly suggesting how communal violence wasn’t spontaneous, local phenomenon.

3) Huge stocks of country made weapons and swords were bought in large numbers a few days before the riots. The shop where one of the bulk orders was placed has been identified and its owner is being questioned.

The state police has made several arrests following the riots. One of them is of one Dhiraj Kumar. Kumar, known as a Bajrang Dal convener of Silao, Nalanda, was named in two cases of riots — Nalanda and Nawada.

A police officer told News18 that the fact that he had travelled from Nalanda and Nawada, and stoked riots in both the places, had been established.

“Dhiraj was arrested in Nawada, his name is also there in the Nalanda FIR,” said sub-inspector of Nalanda, Rajesh Kumar. The FIR confirms that he travelled from Nalanda to Nawada to participate in the clashes.

Though Bajrang Dal, when contacted by News18, denied its involvement in the riots.

Anil Singh, Bajrang Dal head for Bihar and Jharkhand, also did not confirm or deny the membership of Dhiraj Kumar in his outfit. “I do not know whether Dhiraj Singh is from Bajrang Dal or not. These days every youth says he is from the Dal.”

Not just intelligence sources and police officers, senior administrative officials also talked about the manufactured nature of these riots.


At Ground Zero

  • Bikes carrying representations of Hindu dieties during the Ramnavami procession in Nalanda. The procession was organised by militant Hindu outfits.

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Bikes carrying representations of Hindu dieties during the Ramnavami procession in Nalanda. The procession was organised by militant Hindu outfits.
“This year’s Ram Navami had three distinct features. First was that a week before the Ram Navami procession many non-locals had started pouring into the area wearing saffron-coloured headbands. Second, that these people were carrying an unusual number of swords. Third, that a motorcycle rally had been planned for the procession. This was unusual because our area had never seen a motorcycle rally on Ram Navami,” District Magistrate of Aurangabad, Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal told News18.

There was heavy inflow of swords and other smaller domestically made sharp-edged weapons into the state a month before Ram Navami, multiple intelligence bureau sources told News18. The sources also confirmed that most of these weapons were bought from outside the state, possibly to avoid inviting attention of the sleuths.

Rioters across the state were armed not just with deadly weapons but also songs that they used to provoke Muslim retaliation. Communally provoking and insulting songs were composed and played during these Ram Navami processions, as the rioters moved through Muslim dominated areas.

The songs filled with communal slander, played during these processions, are being promoted on social media platforms including popular video and audio platform – Youtube.

News18 went to three riot affected districts in Bihar — Aurangabad, Nalanda and Nawada to find out the circumstances in which riots had broken out.

We found the same story — outsiders coming in with weapons on or around Ram Navami, provoking members of the minority community, indulging in large scale violence including arson — with minor changes played out in all the three places.

Aurangabad, March 25 & 26

It was 5 pm on March 25 when Tej Kumar, a local tea seller, noticed a lot of people he didn’t recognise, coming into the town, wearing saffron bandanas and carrying swords.

“They said they were doing this to glorify the Hindu religion. I was surprised to see the number of swords. One of them said they had come to show their strength just as Muslims do during Muharram.” Aurangabad is represented in Lok Sabha by BJP leader Sushil Kumar Singh.

Nawadi, Aurangabad, is a small town inhabited by both Hindus and Muslims and, as Kumar and many other locals claim, is a perfect example of peaceful co-existence of both the communities. Green flags bearing crescent and the star and saffron flags can be seen fluttering together in the dense bylanes of Nawadi.

“That evening, the Muslims were instigated by the men in the bike rally,” Kumar said.

A senior administrative official posted in the district said, “In Aurangabad, there was a grander conspiracy for stoking communal riots. There were cases of targeted arson. We are moving to checking hotels, railway station CCTVs and other places that can house people. What we know for sure is that the riot did not break out between locals, initially at least.”

“We had informed the local administration of the possibilities of communal clashes twice — first, a month before the procession and once again just before the riots. But the police forces in Aurangabad were deputed in fewer numbers than they should have been,” an Intelligence Bureau official told News18.

The superintendent of police in Aurangabad agreed that such warnings were issued in advance but said that, “the warnings were not area specific.”

As the rally entered Nawadi, the chants of “Jai Shri Ram” changed to “Pakistan Murdabad” and “Hindistan mein rehna hai toh Vande Mataram kehna hoga”, multiple eyewitnesses said.

While police controlled the riots on March 25, a much bigger 10,000 strong mob descended on Aurangabad the next day. People gathered on the occasion of the religious celebration were armed to their teeth. Every man in the rally had a sword, a lathi and was wearing saffron.

Motorcycle of a journalist and electric generator of a marriage hall demolished by rioters. The locals had locked up a marriage party on suspicion of them vanadalising a Hanuman statue in Nawada, Bihar.

What followed was one of the biggest communal riots Aurangabad had witnessed in recent times.

In the communal violence that broke out on March 26, 50 shops near Jama Masjid located on Old GT Road were torched. More than 60 persons, including 20 policemen, were injured in stone pelting. The administration imposed curfew by the afternoon and internet services were suspended. Later, over 100 people were arrested.

Nalanda, March 28

Two days later and roughly 170 km away, Bihar witnessed yet another incident of religious hatred.

On March 28, near the hometown of state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) stronghold, communal violence was stoked.

However, the story in Nalanda begins a week before the Ram Navami celebrations.

According to a senior administrative officer in Nalanda, “BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders used to land up here every day requesting the DM to allow the procession to take a new route. They said that more people will be able to see the procession if the new route was allowed. The DM subsequently allowed the organisers to take the procession through the new route but allowed only 10 people in the procession.”

The new route now had Haiderganj, a heavily Muslim populated area, as one of its stopovers.

We had informed the local administration of the possibilities of communal clashes twice — first, a month before the procession and once again just before the riots. - an IB official
Five Hindu and five Muslim men were ready to carry the Ram Navami Rath across the town as per the DM’s orders.

“Instead of 10, the number of participants grew to over 3,000. All of them had weapons in their hands. Some had swords, some had lathis and others knives. A few carried both,” said a constable who was deployed on the route. The procession turned violent as it reached the Muslim dominated area. What started with verbal abuse soon exploded into stone pelting.

The crowd halted the Shramjeevi Express, throwing stones at it. Several police officers were injured and more than hundred people were arrested. Internet services were suspended. Shops in Silao remained close for ten days after the incident.

Nawada, March 30

Roughly 40 km from Nalanda, communal violence went on to engulf the eighth district of the state — Nawada. The district from where senior state BJP leader and current Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Giriraj Singh was elected Member of Parliament in 2014.

While what in other districts of Bihar had become the ignition point of ugly communal clashes, Nawada witnessed a peaceful Ram Navami procession. 

However, late into the night, “some unidentified anti-social elements”, as described by senior police officers, vandalised a Hanuman statue.

  • Police officials guarding the railway crossing in Silao, Nalanda. Rioters had stalled the Shramjivi Express and thrown stones at it.
  • “I woke up at 4:30 am on March 30 and was heading for my morning rituals along with a friend. At around 5:00 am we noticed that the idol was broken and thrown on the ground. I quickly shouted and called everybody in the nearby area,” said Bijay Kumar, a local resident of Nawada.

    A mob, protesting the desecration of Hanuman statue, soon resorted to stone pelting, police reacted with lathi-charge. Hindu men from adjoining localities joined in the fight and the Muslim sect retaliated. The stone pelting went on for three hours, injuring several police officials and civilians.

    A senior intelligence bureau officer told News18, “You need to understand, the people in the respective areas will rarely go around pelting stones and hurting people. They are neighbours who live in the same district and have been living here since many decades. Who wants a communal tension with people he or she meets every day. Unless there are outside forces involved, it is very difficult to have riots in eight districts.”

    Several local journalists, who covered the events of March 30, told News18 that the people involved in violence were new faces.

    “We are district journalists, we know almost everybody in the entire district and everybody knows us, including police and district magistrate. The people involved in targeting cameras and the front runners in stone pelting were mostly outsiders,” said Bablu Kumar, local camera-person for Prabhat Khabar, a Hindi daily.

    “Just when we were hoping that the violent scenario is over, we got news at around 10:30 in the night that a storehouse containing paddy, sacks, rickshaws and housing cows was torched. The fire spread wildly because of dried paddy in the storehouse. It took roughly 20 fire extinguishing trucks to control the fire as the sacks and paddy burnt in layers,” said a local journalist.

    “All my stock has turned to ashes. It was approximately worth Rs 7 lakh. I do not know what to do,” said Pappu Shau, owner of the storehouse, a resident of Nawada’s Islamnagar town.

    When Hindus Risked Their Lives for a Muslim Seer's Mazaar Set Afire by Rioters in Bihar

    By Rounak Kumar Gunjan

    It was 11 am on a hot Friday morning in Nawada when 34-year-old Mohammad Dawood Khan, a renowned businessman of the area, got the call he was waiting for.

    Communal violence had for the past fortnight been spreading like wildfire in Bihar. And riots had now broken in his very own district. The fact that the eye of the communal storm in Nawada — a vandalised statue of Lord Hanuman — lay very close to his house, naturally had brought Dawood at the very edge of his nerves.

    He was glued to his television set when the call came. All three entries to his palatial house were bolted from within. Just to be sure, Dawood had put his phone on charge and turned the volume of his ringtone to its loudest.

    “I had decided not to step out because of the communal tension. From my windows, I could see a lot of police on the roads outside. I was watching news channels attentively to know which areas were being mobbed and set afire. Because a Hindu deity’s statue was broken it was obvious that Muslims would have to bear the brunt of violent mobsters,” said Dawood recounting the events of March 30.

    Suddenly the phone rang aloud. It was Rajeev Kumar Sinha, Dawood’s business partner, whom he also describes as his boss, philosopher, and guide.

    “There is absolutely no hesitation between Rajeev bhaiyya and I. We share a very close relationship. Boss informed me that some miscreants had set Sufidullah Shah Baba’s Mazaar (shrine) on fire in retaliation for the desecration of Hanuman statue. He had received an image on one of his Whatsapp groups of the Mazaar on fire. He told me to immediately leave and see if things are fine there. I obey him blindly but decided to call a local bureaucrat to confirm the news as a lot of rumours are spread during such times,” said Dawood.

    In a few minutes, the news about the local shrine was confirmed. It did not surprise Dawood.

  • A Hindu man placing the holy sheet on the Mazaar in Nawada that was set ablaze by rioters. Both Hindus and Muslims had come together to restore the shrine.
  • It was only two days ago, when in Silao, Nalanda, roughly 40 kms from his house, communal violence was stoked during a Ram Navami procession. Groups of Hindus and Muslims eventually fought with each other, reducing several shops and houses to ash.

    The same script had repeated itself several times over in Bihar. A Ram Navami procession, communally charged sloganeering, desecration of religious symbols, stone-pelting, arson and intense communal violence.

    Within a fortnight seven districts in Bihar had burned in communal fire. The fire had now reached Nawada.

    Dawood, who had shut himself in his house, wasn’t the only person in Nawada closely tracking the communal violence unfold. In the closely-knit community of Nawada, almost everyone, irrespective of their faith, was fervently making calls enquiring about each other’s safety.

    Manmohan Krishna, a local journalist, was witnessing the events unfold from ground zero.

    Krishna, grey haired and slightly-built local journalist was busy taking pictures of the angry mobs throwing stones at one another.

    “I was at the site where lord Hanuman’s statue was vandalised. People had completely lost control of themselves. Heavy stone pelting was going on, traffic on the highway had been halted, people were being thrashed, while police was lathi-charging everyone to disperse the mobs. I ran away from the crowd. This is when I received a call,” said Krishna, showing his phone to News18.

    It was Mohammad Barkatulla Khan, professor in Nawada Vidhi Mahavidyalay. Krishna was a law student in the university where Khan was his favourite teacher.

    “Professor sahab asked me if there was an incident of the Mazaar burning. His wife is a teacher in a school that is very close to the Mazaar and he was asking me if it was safe to send for her. I told him not to move out. A Mazaar burning was the last thing that the district needed at that time,” said Krishna.

    The local reporter for the Hindi national daily, Hindustan, Krishna took shelter in a nearby building and called the local police officer Anjani Kumar to verify the truth behind the matter.

    Ramnavami procession in Aurangabad. There was heavy presence of swords, knifes, hockey sticks and other forms of domestically-made weapons.

    “When I called the inspector, he told me that Dawood Khan had already left for the place and asked me if I could get some locals from both the community who could help cool the tempers. So I took two of my friends from different media publications and rushed to the spot. Fighting fire at the Mazaar became my top priority,” said Krishna.

    While Hindus and Muslims of Nawada were coming together to ensure each other’s safety, another lot, whom the police suspects of being outsiders, were busy setting fire to properties and fanning communal flames to start full-blown riots.

    The mobsters running through the town torched a tea-stall and an adjacent meat seller’s shop, both owned by Muslims, to provoke a retaliatory arson by the Muslim community.

  • ​The picture that was circulated as an anti-dote to that of the burning Mazaar. The steps lead to the main shrine.
  • In another part of the town, around a kilometre away from the burning Mazaar, Shravan Kumar Barnwal, a Hindu garment shop owner, was watching the rioters ransack the town from the terrace of his six-storied building in Adarsh Nagar Housing Complex.

    He got a call from his friend Banwari Lal, who was distressing on hearing the news about the Mazaar. 

    “Banwari Lal, a resident of the nearby village called me up. He and I know each other having worked together for quite a few causes. He told me that somebody had set Baba Sufidullah’s Mazaaar on fire. I asked him if he had seen someone do it, he hadn’t. I quickly summoned a few of my neighbours, we filled our buckets with water and left for the Mazaar,” said Barnwal.

    The Mazaar, whose desecration had upset both Muslims and Hindus of Nawada, is surrounded by paddy fields on all four sides. One has to walk for a kilometre through these fields to reach the Mazaaar. Nobody in the town seems to know for sure how old the Mazaar is. “It is older than me,” 86 year-old Mohamad Alam Khan, says with a smile. But what unites the residents of Nawada is a belief in the sanctity of the Mazaar. A protective love for the shrine that has passed down several generations. The attack on the shrine was in many ways an attack on the shared history of Nawada’s people.

    A Hindu farmer, who lives close to the Mazaar, who did not wish to be named, described the attempts to put out the fire at the shrine. “Clashes had already broken out at several religious sites in Nawada. We did not want this Mazaar to be the reason for more bloodshed. As soon as we saw fire, our first instinct was to find out ways to stop it. We used our water pipes to extinguish the fire,” he said.

    The decades old shrine was not the only rallying point for the people of Nawada. They came together at several other instances to put out communal flames.

    Just before the Ram Navami procession, which through the years has been used by various polarising forces to rupture the social fabric of the town, the local superintendent of police had appealed to the residents to join him in the night vigil.

    He didn’t have to ask twice. Residents from across the town, from both the communities, came together and patrolled the town with him day and night to ensure peace.

    Hazrat Sayeed Saufi Dulla Shaheed Shah. The newly painted wall adjacent to the Mazaar with its full name and yearly celebration date.

    “I was one of the civilian volunteers. I was more than happy to be in the list. SP sahab had asked us to help the forces in reaching out to more areas and ensuring a peaceful atmosphere by interacting with our friends and families. I thought why just help them during the day,” said Rambalak Yadav, a resident of the town.

    He added that on seeing senior police officers not going home all through the night and camping at different places. He decided to show support by staying put with them through the night. “I used to sleep on cement platforms close to where they camped and went back home only after the seniors left,” he said.

    News18 in its visit to the town saw several small tea-stalls keeping their shops open late into the night only to serve the police officers during their night vigils.

    Mohammed Dawood Khan had meanwhile reached the Mazaar. He was surprised to see the number of Hindu residents of the town, who at the peak of communal tensions had risked their lives, and left their houses to put out the fire at the shrine.

    “I was surprised to see Hindu farmers in plenty. There were at least ten of them,” said Dawood.

    Though the fire had subsided, there was still a lot to be done. The sight of the burnt Mazaar and the thick coat of black soot could have become an excuse for another round of communal clashes.

    As one climbed up the stairs of the shrine, one could see holy tapestry in the shrine, including the cloth used to cover the grave, reduced to ashes. Some of the tiles on the Maazzar had been vandalised with hammers.

    I was surprised to see Hindu farmers in plenty. There were at least ten of them. - Dawood
    In some time, District Magistrate Kaushal Kumar reached the spot. He had a group of junior police officials along to guard the Mazaar and help the men clean it.

    “We decided to pay for all the expenses of cleaning the shrine. Things such as surf, broomsticks, pieces of cloth to clean the floor and ceiling, buckets and the holy cloth used to cover the grave was bought by us. The residents displayed exemplary behaviour in restoring peace,” the DM told News18.

    It took several hours to put out the fire that took just moments for some anti-social elements to ignite.

    Moments after the fire had been extinguished, Krishna found a copy of a torn Quran thrown behind the grave.

    “When we reached, the fire had almost subsided due to the efforts of the villagers there. But when I saw the Quran torn off and thrown off here and there, I got really scared. One careless mention about the desecrated Quran and there would have been no stopping another round of riots,” said Krishna.

    The group of Nawada residents were in a fix about what to do next.

    “Initially nobody was willing to touch it. I could sense that my Hindu brothers thought that Muslims would get offended if they as much as came near it. While there was no question of being offended, their apprehensions were understandable,” said Dawood.

    Taking matters in his hands, Dawood decided to collect all the torn pages in a sack, tie the sack up and walked at least 250 metres away from the shrine.

    “It was Friday so it was a holy day as well. I along with the help of others, dug a four feet deep pit and buried the Quran in it. I don’t know what I did was correct or not, whether burying my religion’s holy book was justified to save the district from further clashes,” said Dawood still running over the day’s events.

    In a couple of days the residents put the Mazaar back to its original glory. The patrons of the shrine took pictures of the place and spread it across social media platforms to spread the message of peace.

    It may be too early to tell how successful the attempt to stoke riots in Nawada have been. But if there is something that one can say for certain having interacted with a number of residents of Nawada is that they are hopeful about a better, peaceful tomorrow.

    Nitish Kumar: The General in his labyrinth

    By Marya Shakil

    Noorul Hasan, 58, believes Nitish Kumar ‘isn’t the same’ anymore. Hasan, who lives in Aurangabad and runs a garage with 15 shops on National Highway-2, says the CM no more talks like the man he voted for all these years.

    On March 25, Hasan’s shops were gutted by a group of men who came brandishing weapons. He suffered a loss of over Rs 50 lakh.

      “Compensation alone wouldn’t mean justice. This wasn’t a one-off case. It happened in several districts of Bihar and there is a pattern to it,” he says, demanding an NIA probe into the riots that engulfed a third of the state for a fortnight after Ram Navami processions. 

    “It’s all linked to 2019 elections,” he adds.

  • ​"‘Sushasan Babu’ finds himself in a labyrinth today. And he is running out of time and tactics.".
  • The communal faultlines are on the surface and serious questions are being raised over the ability of the chief minister to contain riots. Nitish’s USP of being a sushasan babu— an able administrator— is being doubted. 

    While many like Noorul Hasan didn’t care much about who his ally was in the government in the past, it seems to matters now.

    The biggest example of coalition’s pressures was the arrest of BJP’s Arijit Shashwat, son of Union Minister Ashwini Choubey. Despite the FIR against him being lodged on March 17 for rioting and inciting violence in Bhagalpur, Shashwat mocked the state machinery and surrendered only a week later in Patna. 

    The arrest was made in full camera view, with Shashwat himself inviting TV channels to cover the midnight drama. He had converted his act of surrender into an opportunity to resurrect his political career after unsuccessfully contesting the 2015 Assembly polls from Bhagalpur as a BJP candidate.

    Sources close to the Bihar CM say he had communicated his displeasure to his deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi, over the delay but he appeared helpless as Shashwat mocked the law and order machinery.  

    So, who has tied Nitish’s hands?

    Sample this: In March, Nitish appointed Krishna Swaroop Diwedi, a 1984 batch IPS officer, as the new DGP of the state. Dwivedi was the SP of Bhagalpur in 1989 when communal riots claimed over 1,000 lives. As the Opposition questioned the appointment of a ‘tainted officer’, allegedly on an order from Nagpur, Nitish rushed his Principal Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani to brief the media. Subhani’s defence was “it was on the basis of seniority”. 

    He added that “the judicial commission set up to probe the communal flare-up and the role played by Bhagalpur district administration had not found Diwedi guilty of dereliction of duty.”

    But one question he couldn’t answer was how an officer, whom Nitish didn’t find worthy of better postings for 13 years, suddenly was fit to head the police force. 

    DJs being carried during the Ramnavami procession in Nawada. They were used to play provocative songs that incited violence.

    Sources say on the list was also the name of Sunil Kumar, former DG police training, who had been moved as DGP (Building Construction Corporation) in August last year, when Nitish had carried out a major reshuffle in bureaucracy and police by transferring 28 IAS and 42 IPS officers. 

    This was within a week after he ended the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and started his fresh innings with the BJP. Sunil Kumar was not considered for the top job because of his association with RJD chief Lalu Yadav. “Nitish didn’t want to leave any scope for Lalu to have control over his administration, especially after they had parted ways,” a source told News18.

    Political observers also point out how the demand for special status has played out in Bihar and in Andhra Pradesh to demonstrate that Nitish is left with few choices.

    While Chandrababu Naidu walked out of the NDA over special status, Nitish has put the demand, one championed by him, on the backburner.

    Though JD(U) leaders, a day after TDP chose to exit the NDA, say that the demand for special status was “very much active as it was a unanimous demand of the Bihar Assembly”.

    But the question is - did Nitish actually negotiate a special category status as a condition for his return into the NDA fold? According to highly placed sources, at that time the reason for his ‘ghar wapsi’ was purely to get rid of Lalu Yadav. On July 27, 2017, when he unabashedly moved from ‘Mahagathbandhan’ to NDA, Nitish cried betrayal, but forgot that the people of the state could do the same.

    “He didn’t respect the mandate. Our vote was for Lalu-Nitish Jodi,” says Puppo Khan, a resident of Aurangabad. Khan’s shop was saved by his landlord from being burnt down in the clashes. He says that for 18 years he has been running a shop and vouches for communal harmony in his city. 

    “Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb ki misal tha Aurangabad. Yeh high level par hua hai (Aurangabad was an example of communal harmony. People from the ‘high level’ flared up the situation),” says Khan.

  • ​There were public entertainers in the Ramnavami procession in Aurangabad. The presence of weapons can be seen here as well.
  • Who was Puppo Khan referring to as ‘high level’? While he doesn’t name them, many in Bihar talk about an administration that stood as a mute spectator as shops owned by minority community were looted and burnt down. Those who have felt safe in Bihar all these years today question Nitish’s laxity. 

    After all, he is also the home minister of the state. “This is an administration failure,” says Tridevi, a lawyer at the local civil court. He further says, “What happened on March 25 and 26 was unprecedented. We had not seen such a scene. Today, I am scared of going to a Muslim locality.” 

    The society is beginning to split. The communities are moving away from each other. “It would be unfair to say that the chief minister failed. While he didn’t operate the way he usually does, he managed to contain the violence,” says a senior police.

    Nitish may have monitored the unfolding of the situation for hours but he couldn’t figure out how thousands of swords suddenly became part of the Ram Navami celebrations. “The administration didn’t foresee the scale of celebrations this year,” says Sushil Singh, the member of parliament from Aurangabad. 

    We had not seen such a scene. Today, I am scared of going to a Muslim locality. - Tridevi
    Singh is facing the charge of leading the Ram Navami processions and defends the Bihar CM. “How has he failed? How has his administration failed? There was no casualty. It shows that everything was handled in time,” Singh says.

    But the uneasy equation between Nitish and BJP is being discussed in the corridors of power. “It was Nitish who returned to us, so the rules of engagement will be decided by us. We respect him, but he has to understand us too,” says a state BJP leader. 

    Meanwhile, JD(U) leaders claim that Sushil Modi, who has a great equation with the CM, is running his administration without much interference from the BJP.

    In the last 10 months, Nitish has faced question on two occasions — one when Manoj Baitha, a BJP leader, mowed down nine children in Muzaffarpur and went absconding; and second, when the administration failed to arrest Arijit Shashwat right after the rioting incident.

    ‘Sushasan Babu’ finds himself in a labyrinth today. And he is running out of time and tactics. 

    He has to do something soon, else history will remember him as yet another politician who succumbed under the pressure. 

    Bihar Riots: A Timeline


    Pictures - Rounak Kumar Gunjan
    Video Editor - Sameer Rai
    Illustrations & Cartoon - Mir Suhail
    Production - Sheikh Saaliq