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A town in Bihar that is coiled tight with communal tension

Nawada, about 150 kilometres from Patna, is now the camping ground for some of Bihar’s most senior police officers and bureaucrats.

Two people have died in the last two days.

The town has been under curfew since Saturday when communal clashes erupted. A 16-year-old boy died when the police opened fire on a rioting mob on Saturday evening. The second person died last night in clashes.

‘There seems to be an attempt to create an atmosphere of intolerance. I would like to appeal to all political parties and everyone else to help in maintaining peace,’ said chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday.

In the six weeks since Kumar ended a 17-year-alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and booted it out of his government, there have been six eruptions of communal violence in the state.

Kumar’s party, the Janata Dal United or JDU, relies heavily on the support of Muslim voters. The BJP is popular with upper caste Hindus.

Sources in both parties say there are concerns about whether the acrimonious split is causing deep divides.

When he ended his partnership with the BJP, the chief minister blamed its decision to promote Narendra Modi to lead its campaign for the national election.

Like other critics of the Gujarat chief minister, Kumar blames Modi for not doing enough to protect hundreds of Muslims from being killed in communal riots in 2002 in his home state.

 The BJP, however, has ascribed Kumar’s stand to political opportunism.
Agencies

Agencies

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