A major controversy erupted in Ramlila Gachi Bazar in Deoria in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar on Friday (August 20) over holding the Tazia procession as part of the Muharram celebration and celebrations of Suwariya mela wherein pigs are slaughtered as part of Hindu ritual on the last Friday of the month of Sawan. Incidentally, both the festivals fell on the same day.
According to reports, during the celebrations, police had arrived at the spot to stop the animal sacrifice at the Hindu festival. But the enraged Hindus used sticks and bamboos to attack police officers who arrived at the fair to stop them from sacrificing animals. The police too, retaliated by raining lathis at the crowd. Both, locals and the police personnel sustained injuries in the brawl.
#WATCH | People clashed with police over prohibition on animal sacrifice in Deoria, Muzaffarpur in Bihar y’day— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2021
On last Friday of Sawan, people offer prayers & sacrifice animals. In a meeting, it was decided that there would be a ban on sacrifice this year: SDM (West) Anil Kumar pic.twitter.com/MmFoStRDBh
While five police officers were reportedly hurt in the incident, including the SHO of Deoria, more than a dozen villagers were also hurt in the attack. Hundreds of locals who had gathered to celebrate the festival on Friday accused the police of taking unilateral action against the villagers.
According to reports, the people belonging to the Muslim community held a Tazia procession on the night of August 18 (Wednesday). Following this, the people of the Hindu community began constructing a pandal in the area to conduct the Suwariya mela. Reportedly, there was a lot of angst amongst some Muslim villagers regarding this. Fearing that the situation might deteriorate, Paru’s CO and SHO held a meeting with some locals and debarred the Hindus from holding the festival, to which they took strong objection.
Locals said that the police snatched the pigs from the hands of the Hindus who were carrying the animals to slaughter them as part of their ritual. This enraged the Hindu villagers, who then attacked the police with rods and sticks. The irate villagers started pelting stones at the police in an attempt to drive them away, in which, 5 police personnel including SHO Sanjay Swarup, Paru inspector Digambar Prasad reportedly sustained injuries.
The police too, resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the villagers, in which a dozen villagers were injured. According to the locals, four rounds of aerial firing was also done by the police to control the crowd. However, the police are denying all these allegations.
Speaking to ANI, Anil Kumar, the sub-divisional magistrate of Muzzafarpur said: On the last day of the month of Sawan, people offer prayers and sacrifice animals. In a meeting, it was decided that there would be a ban on animal sacrifice this year. In violation of the mutual agreement, some people were adamant about sacrificing animals and started pelting stones at policemen in which a dozen of policemen were injured. The situation is now under control and the miscreants are being identified”.
Meanwhile, there is significant tension in the area following the incident. A large contingent of police has been deployed to keep the situation under control.