Hoisting of saffron flag on top of mosque in Bihar done to make Muslims feel emasculated: PUCL

A man hoisting a saffron flag on top of a mosque in Muzaffarpur in Bihar on April 10 during Ram Navami. | Photo Courtesy: NDTV

The PUCL report released in Patna on May 17 questioned the role of the administration and has called for investigating the alleged involvement of organizations like Bajrang Dal and Hindu Putra etc. 

Sami Ahmad | TwoCircles.net 

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BIHAR — The forced hoisting of a bhagwa (saffron) flag atop a mosque at Kazi Mohammadpur in Bihar’s northern district of Muzaffarpur by alleged Hindutva mobs on April 10 during the Ram Navami procession was an attempt to make the Muslims feel emasculated, hurt their religious sentiments, and to provoke them to retaliate with violence, a fact-finding report by People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Bihar has claimed. 

“The residents (of the minority community) didn’t respond and react to the provocation,” it said. 

The fact-finding report, which was released Tuesday (May 17) in the state capital Patna, alleged that organizations like Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena etc. were involved in this incident. “Such allegations must be investigated properly and if found true, stern actions should be taken against them,” it said. 

On April 10, on the occasion of Ram Navami, a man climbed a mosque wall in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and planted a saffron flag on top of the gate of a mosque. He was cheered on by several men riding bikes, who were wielding swords and hockey sticks.

According to a report by NDTV, the men took out a procession outside the Dak Bangla Masjid in Mohammadpur on Ram Navami. The incident was captured on video, and the clip was circulated on social media and went viral. 

The fact-finding report remarked that “this incident shows how the Indian Constitution has been violated by Hindutva communal forces and how the police failed in its duty to protect the Constitution.”

The report prepared by the three-member team included convener Kishori Das, members Shahid Kamal and Vrati Kumar. 

This report questioned the role of the administration and has said that the “alleged involvement of organisations like Bajrang Dal and Hindu Putra etc. must be investigated.”

An FIR was registered in this regard by the concerned SHO of Paroo police station under sections 188 (disobedience to government order), 147 (rioting), 148 (unlawful assembly), 153 (provocation), 295 (insulting religious sentiments), 295 (A) and 120 (B) (Criminal conspiracy) was registered on April 11, 2022. Section 67 (Transmitting provocative material) of the I.T. Act has also been applied but the arms act has not been included while the PUCL report suggests that those in the procession were carrying arms illegally. 

It is also noticeable that though a video of the incident went viral on April 10, the FIR mentions the time of receiving information about this at 4:45 P.M. on April 11.

This FIR mentions one Rishabh Thakur in whose name the license to take procession of Ramnavami was issued and who is accused in this case. He is said to be a member of the Bajrang Dal. The FIR mentions that these acts were aimed at creating communal tension, disrupting harmony and threatening people. 

The PUCL report notes that “provocative slogans and loud music with derogatory and threatening songs were played after stopping the procession at the mosque.” 

In addition to the incident of Kazi Mohammadpur, in the nearby village of Aswari Banjariiya, a bhagwa (saffron) flag was planted at an Eidgah.

One local Amar Paswan has been quoted by the PUCL report as saying that “hatred is being spread in the entire country.” Paswan lives some eight kilometers away from the mosque and came to know about this incident from the viral video. 

Another local Nyaz Ahmad who lives near the mosque has been quoted as saying that the “incident was planned to scare us so that we don’t raise our voices.” 

“We do not have a problem with their procession passing our mosque as long as they pass peacefully,” said Nyaz.

Another local Parvez Ahmad, who lives near the Aswari Banjariya Eidgah, told the PUCL team that they were “scared and felt helpless.”

A member of the PUCL fact-finding team Vrati Kumar told TwoCirles.net that though the police acted after the incident of provocative flag hoisting, “their role was dubious at that time because there was no presence of police.” 

“How and why was the permission to carry weapons in the procession given by the police?” he questioned. 

The General Secretary of PUCL, Bihar Sarfaraz Ahmad told TwoCircles.net, that the report will be sent to the chief minister and top officials of Bihar. 

The PUCL report has recommended that “the police officials who failed to act responsibly to maintain communal harmony and protect the place of Muslim worship from sacrilege by anti-social elements and communal forces carrying out the procession should be penalised.” 

“The incidence of Qazi Mohammadpur is proof of the dereliction of duty and/or collusion with communal forces who for political gains wanted to create communal disharmony,” the report notes. 

When TwoCirles.net asked the I.G. of Tirhut range Pankaj Kumar Sinha about no action being taken against the erring officials, he suggested contacting the S.S.P. 

S.S.P. of Muzaffarpur Jayant Kant was dismissive of the PUCL report terming it as “Kude ka Ghar (trash).” 

He said that the police have taken proper action and disconnected the call. 


Sami Ahmad is a journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He tweets at @samipkb