"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." – Albert Einstein

1989 Bhagalpur violence

A three-member Commission of Inquiry was set up by the Bihar State Government to investigate the riots. The Commission blamed several police officers, including the superintendent of police KS Dwivedi, for failing to stop the violence. A second round of violence happened in March 1990.

142 FIRs were recorded in various police stations. 1,283 persons were accused. 535 cases out of the 864 cases filed were closed, and most of the accused were acquitted for the lack of evidence.

The victims accused the Congress government of doing little to stop the riots, and also of not providing them with adequate relief and rehabilitation. The riots happened during the tenure of the Chief Minister Satyendra Narayan Sinha, who stepped down. To pacify the Muslims, the Congress replaced him with Jagannath Mishra, who had become popular in the Muslim community ever since he made Urdu one of the official languages of the State. In his autobiography Meri Yaadein, Meri bhoolein, Sinha accused his Congress colleagues of "fanning" the riots out of personal jealousy and ill-will, specifically mentioning the former chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad and the former speaker Shivchandra Jha. He also accused the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of overruling his order to transfer the then superintendent of police K S Dwivedi without consulting him, although Dwivedi had completely failed to control the riots. He alleged that the decision was "not only an encroachment of the Constitutional right of the state government but also a step detrimental to ongoing efforts to ease tensions". Sinha also stated that after being dismissed as the Chief Minister, he informed Rajiv Gandhi about the "role of some Congress leaders" in the riots.

The Muslims in Bihar had traditionally served as a Congress (I) vote bank, but after the 1989 violence, they shifted their loyalty to Lalu Prasad Yadav, who became the Chief Minister of the state in 1990. However, the subsequent governments were also accused of not meting out the justice. The survivors accused Lalu Prasad Yadav of not punishing the rioters because many of them belonged to his own caste.


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