Bhagalpur tense as Muslims offer Namaz at ‘disputed’ ground with Hanuman temple

Communal tensions in Bhagalpur, Bihar have grown after local Hindu and Muslim groups clashed with each other over installation of Hanuman idol at a piece of land that reportedly belongs to the government.

The incident happened yesterday in an area called Habibpur in Bhagalpur when local Hindus tried to install a new idol of Lord Hanuman at a place where an old dilapidated idol has been resting for around 50 years.

This move was resisted by local Muslims who claimed that this was an attempt to grab government land by making a new temple. Some complained about the same to the police after which forces arrived at the place and took away both the idols of Lord Hanuman.

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The Hanuman idol at Ambe Pokhar in Habibpur (source)

The disputed piece of land where construction of Hanuman temple is being resisted

This is reported to have angered the local Hindu groups, who started shouting slogans and went on to block traffic on roads. Situation started deteriorating with some people resorting to stone pelting, which threatened to blow up into full-fledged violence between the two communities.

Additional police forces from nearby areas were summoned and around 200 policemen arrived at the place to control the clashes. The situation was being monitored by SDO Kumar Anuj and DSP Shaharyar Akhtar. It should be noted that Bihar had seen one of its worst communal riots in the Bhagalpur area only in 1989.

The situation was brought under control when the administration and police agreed not to confiscate the idols, which had been wrested back by local Hindu groups from police vans. The idols were put back at the ‘disputed’ place by the Hindus groups yesterday itself.

However, today it has been reported that Muslim groups have started offering Namaz at the same place. Hindu groups too have started worshipping the idol and the situation is reported to be tense. Administration is monitoring the situation by installing CCTV cameras.

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