Patna: A day after the killing of the station head of Indigo Airline, Rupesh Kumar Singh in a posh locality near a high security zone in Patna, along with over half a dozen murders, incidents of bank loot, and gangrape were reported from across Bihar in 24 hours, the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders publicly demanded their own coalition government in the state to adopt the police encounter policy of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to get rid of criminals and improve law and order in the state. It is seen as a big embarrassment for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who repeatedly made claims of “sushasan and kanoon ka raj (good governance and rule of law)”.
Following fear of rising crime haunting common people and the opposition’s accusations of complete lawlessness in Bihar, BJP leaders including Bihar Minister Amrendar Pratap Singh and party MLA Nitin Navin and a party MP Janardhan Singh Sigriwal on Wednesday favoured encounters of criminals similar to the ones taking place in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
This is not the first time that BJP leaders demanded encounters of criminals like Uttar Pradesh. In 2018 and 2019 too, some BJP leaders voiced support for elimination of criminals through police encounters in the state. They had said then that encounters are the best way to create a sense of fear among the criminals.
Hours after the murder of the Indigo Airline official, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Thakur also questioned law and order in the state and given three days ultimatum to police to arrest the criminals behind it or to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
As per reports, apart from the killing of the Indigo official, criminals in Bhagalpur district shot dead a youth. Similarly, another youth was killed in Khagaria district by criminals during a loot and one was killed in Begusarai district. Two businessmen brothers were shot and seriously injured in Gopalganj district; an engineer was shot by criminals in Darbhanga district. Armed criminals then looted a bank on Wednesday in Muzaffatpur.
According to sources in the police headquarters here, Nitish Kumar has ordered top police officials to arrest the criminals involved in the killing of the Indigo official within 48 hours. A SIT has been investigating the case. Patna police have picked up two suspects and are interrogating them.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishor Prasad, who is a senior BJP leader, in a reference to the killing said it was an unfortunate incident. “Police will arrest criminals soon,” he said.
In the last one month, traders, businessmen, contractors and private company officials have been soft targets of criminals in Bihar. Taking this in view, Bihar Chamber of Commerce recently expressed its concern and urged the CM to provide safety and security to traders and businessmen.
Bihar’s opposition leader, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, who has been regularly attacking Nitish Kumar, demanded his resignation on Wednesday saying the CM failed to maintain law and order and is unable to run the state. “Bihar mein ab apradhi hi sarkar chala rahe hai," he said on Twitter and added, "Nitish Kumar se Bihar nahi sambhal raha hai, wo avilamb istifa de (Nitish Kumar is not being able to tackle Bihar, he should resign)."
RJD ally Congress’s legislative party leader Ajit Sharma supported Tejashwi's demand of resignation of Nitish Kumar. “The government has failed to control crimes as day-by-day graph is rising. The entire police have been put to enforce prohibition but truth is that Bihar is a dry state only on paper because liquor is available everywhere and selling like hot cake,” Sharma said.
In the last ten days, Bihar witnessed dozens of murders, incidents of rape, shooting, bank loot, dacoity and the police being attacked by the liquor mafia. The numbers indicate that the law-and-order situation is not exactly in control in Bihar.
With matters getting out of hand, the CM visited the Bihar police headquarters again last Wednesday to review the law-and-order situation with top police officers. This was the second time in the last two weeks that Nitish has had to speak to the police about the rising crime graph. He had already visited the police headquarters on December 23, 2020. He had then warned of action against officials found shirking work and asked them to get a grip on the situation.
The CM had reviewed the law-and-order situation three times within a fortnight last month after the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in mid-November last year. Kumar had said that maintaining law and order was the main priority of the state government and added that he had instructed top police officials to check and control crime and take action against criminals. However, it has not allayed concerns raised by opposition parties.
According to official data from the state government, the first nine months last year – January to September 2020 – witnessed 2,406 murders in Bihar--an average of nine murders per day. The state government has not revealed official figures for crimes committed in the months of October and November last year.
As per official data, there were about 22,600 cases of theft, 1,300 cases of looting, 170 dacoity cases and 5,700 kidnapping cases between January and September last year.