Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and leader of opposition in Bihar Tejashwi Yadav hit out at the Nitish Kumar government, daring it to arrest him for protesting in support of farmers agitating to repeal the centre's three contentious farm laws.
At least 18 leaders of the RJD, Congress and the Left Parties, including Tejashwi were booked for staging demonstration in prohibited area without permission. Tejashwi Yadav and those from allies Congress and CPI held demonstration in front of gate number four of the Gandhi Maidan during the day in protest against the new farm laws.
In response to the charges, the RJD leader called Bihar CM a “coward”. "The government of Bihar, led by a cowardly chief minister, has lodged an FIR against us for raising the voice of the farmers. If you have any real power, then arrest us. If you do not, I will surrender myself. I am ready to be hanged for farmers," Tejashwi Yadav said in a tweet.
डरपोक और बंधक मुख्यमंत्री की अगुवाई में चल रही बिहार की कायर और निक्कमी सरकार ने किसानों के पक्ष में आवाज उठाने के जुर्म में हम पर FIR दर्ज की है। दम है तो गिरफ़्तार करो,अगर नहीं करोगे तो इंतज़ार बाद स्वयं गिरफ़्तारी दूँगा।किसानों के लिए FIR क्या अगर फाँसी भी देना है तो दे दिजीए। https://t.co/3B30VF3asY— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) December 6, 2020
An FIR was lodged against 18 named and 500 unnamed persons in this connection with the Gandhi Maidan police station under various sections of the IPC and the Epidemic Act, police sources said. The FIR has been registered for allegedly violating the government orders and putting peoples lives at risk by holding demonstration near the historic Gandhi Maidan in the heart of the city, a police official said on condition of anonymity.
"The Bihar government has shown its two-faced character by using false and shallow pretexts to book Tejashwi Yadav for standing with the farmers and protesting in their support. For farmers, we are not scared of even a thousand such FIRs," the RJD said in a tweet.
Police sources said these people have violated Covid-19 norms as per which every individual has to maintain social distancing besides wearing masks and taking other preventive measures against the virus. Besides, Tejashwi those named in the FIR included RJD leaders Shyam Rajak, Brishen Patel, Alok Mehta and Mrityunjay Tiwary, the police official said.
Some Congress and CPI leaders have also been named in the FIR, he added. Earlier in the day, a senior Patna district administration official had said that dharna inside Gandhi Maidan is not allowed as it is a 'prohibited area'.