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Return of ‘Jungle Raj’?: Bihar suffers sharp rise in crime

The sharp rise in crime rate has led to criticism of the resurgence of "jungle raj" in Bihar from the BJP and its allies such as the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas)

Since January of this year, crime in Bihar has significantly increased. The state’s law and order situation has rapidly deteriorated as a result of daylight killings and dacoities, kidnappings for ransom, chain snatching, extortions, and other crimes.

The sharp rise in crime rate has led to criticism of the resurgence of “jungle raj” in Bihar from the BJP and its allies such as the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas).

Samrat Choudhary, the state president of the BJP, told the media that during the past seven months, Bihar has seen more than 200 murders, 50 kidnappings for ransom, more than 300 dacoities, countless occurrences of chain snatchings, and other minor crimes.

“Jungle raaj has returned to Bihar, just as we had predicted when Nitish Kumar rejoined the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Mahagathbandhan. The RJD is the senior partner in the government and calls the shots while Nitish Kumar is a lame duck chief minister,” Choudhary rued.

The head of the BJP in the state claimed that after Nitish Kumar left the NDA and re-joined the Mahagathbandhan in August of last year, the RJD has been supporting criminals who have started to commit crimes.

“We had merely stated last year that Bihar has horrible times ahead, and criminals will once more rise to power due to the RJD’s support. Our darkest worries have materialised, Choudhary stated.

The majority of news stories printed in newspapers and shown on regional TV stations concern crimes in Bihar. Every day at least a few significant crimes are reported from the state.

For instance, a couple of thugs on motorcycles shot and killed a retired school teacher at Begusarai on Sunday (August 20) while he was out for his morning stroll.

Also struck by gunfire that morning at Chakiya in the East Champaran area was a contractor. A police station in the same neighbourhood received a report of a kidnapping for ransom on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday afternoon in Gaya, men hired by the sand mafia attacked and critically injured a station house officer (SHO) and three constables.

The sand mafia, which is said to have strong ties to senior RJD leaders, has grown to be a powerful organisation and routinely targets government officials who stand in its way.

On April 23, the driver of a truck carrying sand that had been unlawfully mined and that the subdivisional magistrate of Mohania in the Kaimur district had seized attempted to slam into his car, almost killing him.

Three mining department personnel, including a female officer, were badly hurt in an attack by sand mafia goons a week earlier in Patna district. Trucks filled with sand that had been unlawfully extracted from the Sone river had been seized.

While the pair was out on their morning stroll on Bailey Road in the centre of the city on Sunday, two bike-borne guys grabbed a gold necklace from the wife of a member of the Bihar Public Service Commission.

On Sunday, reports of five robberies and dacoities, two attempted murders, the kidnapping of two young girls, and a few more horrible acts came in from all over the state.

According to Chirag Paswan, the president of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), 30 killings occurred in the Patna area alone during June and July of this year.

“I’m only referring to cases that have been reported. The police don’t record the vast majority of criminal cases. Therefore, Bihar’s crime statistics only include a small portion of the state’s actual criminal history. The state is currently in complete lawlessness,” Paswan told the media.

Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, said this week that the state’s crime rate was significantly lower than the national average.

He had said that Bihar’s law and order situation was considerably better than that of most other states.

The chief minister, according to Paswan, is “living in a fool’s paradise”.

“The police have been instructed not to file FIRs, which explains why Bihar’s official crime statistics are low. At the direction of the RJD, which oversees everything, the police have been given those directives. Nitish Kumar must submit to RJD demands,” claimed Paswan.

Former Union minister and prominent BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed that Bihar is currently under a “reign of terror” in reference to the recent spike in crime there.

“People of Bihar are living in fear because of the crime lords in that state who have the blessings of influential people belonging to allies of Nitish Kumar,” said Prasad.

Prasad mentioned the recent killings of a journalist in Araria district and a police officer in Samastipur district by livestock smugglers.

“Nitish Kumar dreams of leading the nation, yet he is unable to rule even his tiny state. Prasad advised him to resign after taking responsibility for the severe deterioration of Bihar’s law and order situation.

The BJP and its supporters will start a series of protests around the state to draw attention to the rise in crime there and the connection between crime and politics.