Patna: Dozens of opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal’s leaders and workers were injured in Patna on Monday when police baton charged them to stop them during a protest march as a part of the party’s Vidhan Sabha Gherao (encircling of Bihar Assembly) programme against “Berojgari, Mehngai” (unemployment, inflation) and deteriorating law and order situation in the state ruled by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
With handwritten placards, they raised slogans against the government’s failure on the employment front and bid to turn Bihar into a ‘police state’ through Bihar Special Armed Police Bill. The Bill was tabled in the state Assembly on March 23 amid opposition protest.
As per the draft, the Bill will empower police to apprehend people without a specific warrant issued by competent courts and will give power to conduct search without a warrant.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) also protested against the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill and also highlighted problems faced by the contractual employees in the state.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who is also Bihar’s opposition leader, along with several party leaders, including his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, were detained following stone pelting by angry party workers at the police after they were baton charged and dispersed with the use of water cannon.
Tejashwi Yadav was leading the party’s protest march to gherao the state Assembly despite the Patna district administration refusing permission to hold it. In fact, Tejashwi, after his return from Assam where he went for election campaigns on Monday, dared the state government to stop the protest march by his party.
Ahead of the Vidhan Sabha Gherao, RJD’s 74 MLAs had staged a protest outside the main building of the state Assembly in support of the party programme.Holding handwritten placards, they raised slogans against the government’s failure on the employment front.
Thousands of RJD leaders and workers joined the protest march that started from J P Golumbar near Gandhi Maidan. When they reached Dak Bungalow in the heart of Patna, the police forcibly stopped them. After that, protesters broke police barricading and tried to move ahead followed by a violent clash with the cops who baton charged them, injuring several including former RJD MLA Shakti Singh Yadav; Shakti Singh is considered close to Tejashwi.
Several seriously injured party workers were admitted to a government-run hospital for treatment.
Tejashwi, in his address to party workers during the protest march, challenged the NDA government in the state to fulfil its promises to provide 19 lakh jobs to the youth. “The ruling BJP in its election manifesto last year promised 19 lakh jobs to youths, but after months nothing happened.No jobs, no initiative to provide jobs as promised. We are protesting to remind the government and to show a mirror to it.”
Later, Tejashwi directly attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the lathicharging on the protesting party workers and tweeted saying, “We will not let their goonda actions continue. Shoot us if you are a man.”
नीतीश कुमार समाजवाद के नाम पर कलंक है। धब्बा है। लोहिया जयंती के दिन सड़क पर हमारे साथ नौकरी माँग रहे बेरोजगारों पर लाठीचार्ज और पत्थरबाज़ी करवाते है। और उसी दिन सदन में काला पुलिसया क़ानून लेकर आते है।
हम इनकी गुंडागर्दी नहीं चलने देंगे। चलाओ गोली मर्द हो तो..
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) March 23, 2021
More than four months after the NDA government came to power in the state, joblessness remains a big issue among the youth and no special announcement for recruitment to existing vacancies has been made so far. The Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally of Nitish Kumar’s ruling Janata Dal (United), had promised to provide 19 lakh jobs in the next five years during the election campaign of the state Assembly polls but to no effect.
The Opposition Mahagathbandhan alliance including Congress, CUP, CPI(M) and CPI(ML) have condemned lathi charge against protesting workers of their ally RJD.
Earlier on Tuesday, MLAs of RJD and CPI(ML)staged a protest in the state Assembly against the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill.
However, after RJD’s protest march to encircle the state Assembly, the Communist Party of India (CPI) is fully ready for another Vidhan Sabha Gherao on March 24 in Patna.Former JNUSU leader and CPI’s emerging leader Kanhaiya Kumar is likely to lead the protest march on Wednesday.