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Bihar: Manjhi Block Experiences Caste Tension after Alleged Attack by Karni Sena Supporters

Karni Sena allegedly attacked and burned homes and vehicles belonging to an OBC caste (Yadav).
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Patna: Manjhi block of Saran district in Bihar experienced caste tension on Monday, a day after supporters of the Karni Sena, mostly from the upper caste Rajput community, allegedly set fire to several homes belonging to a specific OBC caste (Yadav) and torched several vehicles in a village as an act of revenge. According to reports, the Karni Sena supporters launched a campaign on social media after a young man was beaten to death and two others were critically injured in the Sidharia Tola locality of Mubarakpur village last week.

To control the situation, the district administration imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on Sunday night and deployed heavy security forces in the area to monitor the situation and prevent any further trouble.

The Bihar government has imposed a ban on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, in the Saran district due to widespread rumours following the recent incident of caste tension. The ban, which will be in effect from February 6th to 8th, was ordered by the state's home department's additional chief secretary, Chaitanya Prasad.

Bihar police ADG Sunil Khopre visited the affected village and instructed local officials to stay alert and take measures to maintain peace. Police are on high alert and have arrested several individuals in connection with the incident, which involved the attack and arson of houses and vehicles belonging to a particular caste. A Special Investigating Team (SIT) has been constituted to investigate the matter.

Local police say that last Thursday, some villagers caught three youths suspected of firing upon Vijay Yadav, the husband of local Mukhiya Rupa Devi, tied them up, and beat them mercilessly in a poultry farm. One person, Amitesh Kumar Singh, died from the beating, while two others, Rahul Kumar Singh and Alok Kumar Singh, were seriously injured and hospitalised in Patna.

After a video of the beating went viral on social media, the Karni Sena reportedly instigated others to seek revenge. The group held a meeting two days later, and over 500 youths on motorcycles armed with bamboo sticks, iron rods, and pistols allegedly attacked homes, ransacked and set fire to huts and vehicles, and threatened members of the specific caste while shouting slogans.

Saran Superintendent of Police Gaurav Mangla told NewsClick that the tension was a result of rumours spread by the same people through social media after the incident last week, but Sunday's attack on homes and vehicles has led to renewed tension. “Police are on high alert and have arrested several people in connection with the death, attack on homes and vehicles, and spreading of rumours. The administration has set up an SIT to investigate the incident,” Mangla said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Neeraj Kumar Singh, also known as Neeraj Bablu, belonging to the powerful Rajput caste, has accused the Mahagathbandhan government led by Nitish Kumar of targeting a specific caste in the state. The BJP leader has hinted at his party's plan to support the upper caste in a state known for its deep-seated caste divisions.

Bihar has a history of caste-related massacres, primarily due to socio-economic issues and political empowerment, dating back to the 1990s.

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