Patna: The Kanhaiya Kumar-led Jana Gana Mana Yatra in protest against CAA-NRC-NPR in Bihar, which has been attracting massive crowds, was again attacked by right-wing youths backed by the ruling BJP on Friday afternoon in Bhojpur district. This is the eighth attack on the Yatra’s convoy in the last 14 days.
A group of nearly 20 youths carrying saffron flags in their hands, with covered faces and shouting provocative slogans attacked the Yatra near the Bibiganj bazaar in Ara town, the district headquarters of Bhojpur. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kumar was scheduled to address a public meeting at the area.
Some youths have also reportedly vandalised the stage erected for the meeting in Ara on the night of February 13.
“We were on our way from Buxar to Ara when a group of aggressive youths attacked us, pelted stones and damaged one vehicle. The attackers were shouting pro-CAA-NRC slogans,” Ghalib, a retired government officer turned education activist, who is accompanying Kumar in the Yatra told NewsClick.
He said that on Friday morning, a group of youths wearing saffron headgear threw rotten eggs on Kanhaiya’s convoy and showed black flags in Buxar district, which is the parliamentary constituency of Union Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey. He added that dozens of youths belonging to Bajrang Dal and Karni Sena had tried to create trouble in Bhabhua, too, ahead of the public meeting on Thursday.
Two days ago, the Yatra was attacked by youths shouting provocative slogans in Gaya district and before that in Jamui district.
The attacks against the Yatra have continued unabated despite the fact that NPR-NRC-CAA Virodhi Sangharsh Morcha has demanded action against the accused and security for the ongoing Yatra last week itself. A delegation of the Morcha had met Bihar Home Secretary Amir Subhani and submitted a memorandum regarding the attacks on the Jana Gana Mana Yatra last week. "We have information that right-wing youths supported by BJP have been attacking the Yatra and creating trouble. Their motive is clear: to create fear among those accompanying the Yatra but we will not stop it," Chandrakanta, an active member of the Morcha, said.
According to her, some slogan shouting youths had thrown slippers on the Yatra in Katihar district on February 7 and tried to disturb it. While on Feb 6, a group of youths had attacked the Yatra in Saharsa district in which three vehicles were damaged and three members of Yatra sustained injuries.
There was another attack in Supaul district on February 6 by a group of nearly 100 people, mostly youths, shouting objectionable and provocative slogans targeting the participants. “The attackers were shouting and raising slogans that are more or less similar to the provocative and anti-constitutional statements issued by the senior BJP leaders and Union ministers in their addresses at public meetings,” the activist added.
Even though Kanhaiya along with another former JNUSU president and Congress MLA from Bihar's Kadwa Assembly seat, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, escaped unhurt in the attack, their driver received a head injury and was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, in the attack in Supaul. Interestingly, the attack took place near a busy market area—not far away from District Magistrate’s residence in Supaul town.
The first attack happened on February 1 in Chhapra district. Glasses of five vehicles of the Yatra were damaged and some people had sustained injuries then as well.
Chandrakanta told NewsClick that the overwhelming support in favour of the Yatra has angered the BJP so much that it is using right wing youths to attack and create disturbance. “At different places, one or another slogan shouting group of youths have tried to attack the Yatra. In Muzaffarpur district, black flags were showed and the participants of the Yatra were chased. This is all part of their old game to create fear among members of Yatra,” she said.
The march began on January 30 from Bhitiharwa Ashram in Bihar's West Champaran district—the historic land associated with M K Gandhi’s first satyagraha. It is expected to reach Gandhi Maidan in Patna and will then culminate into a rally on February 29, after covering the length and breadth of the state. “During the Yatra, we are focusing on the real issues of the people like joblessness, poverty, economic slowdown, farmers’ distress, price rise among others,” said one of the organisers.
Meanwhile, Bihar CM and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar, an ally of the BJP, is supporting CAA. He recently even expelled two senior party leaders–Prashant Kishor and Pawan Verma–for challenging and questioning his support to CAA.
Also read: CAA-NRC Protests: Kanhaiya Kumar-led Yatra Attacked in Bihar's Chhapra