Pieces of animal carcass and bones dumped in places of worship, religious processions through communally sensitive areas and attempts to redraw old fault lines. The poll pot may have begun to boil in Bihar, but what’s been really bubbling in the state since the JD(U) and BJP split on June 18, 2013 is a series of deliberate attempts to polarise the atmosphere on communal lines.
According to police records accessed by The Indian Express, the number of “communal instances” related to disruptions in places of worship, vandalising of idols, and disputes over land linked to graveyards, temples and mosques, was just 37 between January 2010 and June 18, 2013. But since then — until June 30, 2015 — it jumped nearly four times to 139.
The records also indicate a coordinated pattern: 80 incidents of communal tension related to procession routes were recorded between January 2013 and June 2015, nearly three times the number (30) between January 2010 and December 2012.
Besides, these incidents also include what appears to be deliberate attempts to revive fault lines — in one village in Nalanda, a 83-year-old dispute involving a temple bordering a graveyard came alive this January.
If the big picture was to be encapsulated in one line, it’s this: four Hanuman idols were vandalised in four corners of the state — Aurangabad, Muzaffarpur, Nawada and Bhagalpur — on the same night, before November 4, 2014, the day Muslims marked Muharram that year.