Tension in Bihar town after Muslim’s body dug out from grave

Patna, May 03: Tension prevailed in Bihar’s Sasaram town after the body of an old Muslim man was dug out from his grave near Sher Shah’s tomb and thrown on a pile of garbage, allegedly by activists of a Hindu outfit, police said Sunday.
Rohtas district’s superintendent of police Vikas Vaibhav told IANS over telephone Sunday morning that there was tension in the town – the headquarters of Rohtas district – and police were keeping a close watch.

‘In view of the tension after the incident, police patrolling has been increased in the town and security tightened around the graveyard,’ he said.

Local Muslims were shocked Thursday morning when they found that the body of Haji Maksud Alam, a resident of Sabzi Sarai Mohalla, was dug out from his grave and thrown on a pile of garbage.

Alam was buried Wednesday.

As the news spread, hundreds of Muslims, mostly youth, gathered at the graveyard and expressed their anger, shouted slogans and pelted stones. Later, Alam’s body was buried again in the three-century-old graveyard, situated within the premises of the 16th-century tomb, under police protection.

According to Alam’s family members, they had been warned by some people, known to be connected with Hindu outfits, not to bury him in the graveyard in the premises of the tomb, and strongly suspected these people were behind the incident.

Vaibhav said that police had arrested a man, suspected to be involved in the case. ‘Police are yet to identify the people behind the incident but we are working to identify them soon,’ he said.

Asked about alleged involvement of Hindu outfits like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal as alleged by local Muslims, Vaibhav said that police was investigating it. ‘We cannot say anything now but the possibility of RSS-VHP involvement cannot be ruled out,’ he said.

The incident has angered Muslims in the communally sensitive town, about 200 km from Patna, as they see it as a deliberate attempt by Hindu outfits to create controversy. They have demanded action against those behind the incident and adequate security around the graveyard.

‘Anything can happen any time, it is an alarming situation. Tension is running high after Hindu outfits pasted hand-written posters in Hindi near the graveyard warning Muslims to stop burying their dead or to face dire consequences,’ Perwez Aslam, a businessman in Sasaram, said.

Jawed Khan, a teacher in a private school in the town, said that Muslims’ patience is running thin following the incident, but they understood the designs of Hindu outfits to create trouble.

Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative council, Ghulam Ghaus said that the body was not only dug out, it was dragged for nearly 100 metres and thrown on the garbage to humiliate and hurt Muslims. ‘Such a kind of thing has never happened in Bihar before, now Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should act to arrest the people behind it,’ he said.

Ghaus alleged that the activists of Hindu outfits are free to do anything because Nitish Kumar is running the government with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).