A fact-finding team’s report on the recent communal violence across Bihar charged that these incidents in nine districts of the state were “not spontaneous but pre-planned”, accusing the BJP and Bajrang Dal of allegedly orchestrating them.

The report was released at a press conference here on Monday by a voluntary group “United Against Hate (UAH)”. Bihar had been convulsed by a series of communal incidents in the wake of Rama Navami.

The fact-finding team of the UAH comprised of Nadeem Khan (social activist), Prashant Tandon (journalist), Hasnul Banna (journalist), Tarique Anwar (journalist), Sagrika Kissu (journalist), Mahatab Alam (social activist) and Farrah Shakeb (social activist).

The team visited the affected areas in Siwan, Gaya, Kaimur, Aurangabad, Samastipur, Munger, Nawada, Nalanda, Haiderganj and Rosera, and spoke to many people there.

“All the districts we visited had the same pattern. Newly-formed organisations approach the districts administration, asking for permissions for the Rama Navami processions, which are granted in many cases with terms and conditions,” said the report on Bihar’s communal strife.

“People, especially youth riding hundreds of motor bikes, take out rallies, brandish swords and other weapons and play highly objectionable songs. Violating the terms and conditions, they try to enter Muslim-majority areas which is objected to by the local Muslim populations. As a result, stone pelting starts and then shops and other properties belonging to a particular community are set on fire,” said the fact-finding team’s report.

Prashant Tandon told the press conference, “We visited the communal violence-affected places in Bihar from April 3 to April 7. We observed a new pattern of violence that began on March 25 when the Rama Navami rally was taken out in Aurangabad. Similar rallies in the affected districts were forcefully taken to Muslim areas, where provocative slogans were raised and shops of Muslims community were damaged.”

Tandon charged, “When we spoke to people, we found out a pattern in Bihar’s communal violence. Months of preparations were done. Swords in large numbers were ordered online and procured a few days back, and involvement of local population was less.”

The UAH alleged that “After visiting riot-affected places and speaking to people it was very clear that the violence was not spontaneous but was pre-planned and very carefully orchestrated by the BJP and Bajrang Dal hooligans.”