Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said Union minister Giriraj Singh’s meeting with jailed Bajrang Dal activists in Nawada district was “not acceptable” and made it clear that his government would not tolerate any attempts to disturb communal harmony in the state.
Singh, who represents Nawada in the Lok Sabha, had on Saturday called on the jailed activists, one of whom was arrested recently in connection with a communal flare-up that took place last year, and the remaining were held while trying to enforce a bandh in protest.
His visit to the Bajrang Dal activists in the jail came close on the heels of Union minister Jayant Sinha felicitating eight convicts in the Ramgarh lynching case after they came out of prison on bail in Jharkhand.
The firebrand BJP leader had told reporters yesterday at the house of one of the jailed Bajrang Dal activist that he saw the arrests as an “attempt to suppress the Hindus”, even when the other side was at fault and remarked that he “felt helpless” at not being able to do anything in this regard though his party was in the ruling coalition in the state.
Replying to a query about the episode, Kumar said, “This was not acceptable. One may have an opinion about anything and may express it at a proper place. But an open display of sympathy for those whom the administration has found guilty on some counts is not proper. If someone appears to have been wrongly arrested, one should move the court against it.”
The chief minister was talking to reporters in the presence of his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi after his weekly public interaction ‘Lok Samvad’ programme.
Asked about Singh’s remarks with allegedly communal overtones, Kumar said, “There are many attempts in today’s society to disturb social harmony. People have given up decorum in speech. But our government has always been committed to maintaining communal harmony and no attempts to disturb the same will be encouraged or even tolerated.”
Asked about some Muslim leaders reportedly favouring setting up of Sharia courts, the chief minister said, “Personally, I am in favour of a uniform civil code. But that must follow a national consensus.”
“A uniform civil code would be ideal for a democratic society like ours. But that would require extensive discussions with members and leaders of all the communities. We must remember that many customs, which the Hindu majority holds dear, may also have to go,” Kumar added.
Meanwhile, reacting to the chief minister’s disapproval of the stance adopted by Singh, BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan told some regional news channels that “Kumar is our highly respectable leader. But it has been a problem with the socialists that they do not rise above the politics of appeasement”.