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Between the faultlines: In Sheikhpura, widening communal cracks lead to new Bajrang Dal unit
According to Raja Kumar, 24, who is also on that FIR, when they reached the contested gali, they found their path blocked by police.

  THEY ARE young, between 19 and 24 years. They travel across Bihar’s Sheikhpura district on their motorcycles, carrying the message of “Hindu unification”. They aren’t just members of the district’s new Bajrang Dal unit, they virtually set it up on their own last year. And on March 28, it was they who took the lead in organising the first ever Ram Navami procession here with over 4,000 people.
Today, this group of youngsters, many from well-off families, stands accused of rioting, breach of peace, and causing grievous injuries in a clash between participants of the procession on one side, and local residents and the district administration on the other — one of the many communal incidents that rattled Bihar last month-end.
READ | In Nitish backyard, a town sees its first Ram Navami rally, and a street battle
The Sunday Express spoke to a cross-section of those who were part of the procession, from traders to students and even a coaching centre owner, to map the fault lines that led to the clashes.
One of them, Vivek Kumar Singh, 22 years old and ward 8 in-charge, finds mention in the police FIR as one of those who approached the administration for permission to stage the procession. “I always wanted to protect the Hindu faith. At that time there was no Bajrang Dal in Sheikhpura. But I have a friend in Giridih who is part of the Dal. He sent me videos of gau hatya that was carried out in the country, and how the Dal stops it. I told him that I wished there was a similar organisation in Sheikhpura, and he put me in touch with seniors in the organisation. I met them, they gave us instructions, and we joined the Dal,” says Singh.
READ | As communal heat rises, BJP allies in Bihar rally together
Then there’s Lalit Vijay, who is “proud” of what they have achieved. “When we began in 2017, we only had 50-60 members. Now we have grown to at least 1,800 registered members in the district,” he says. Vijay is one of the 43 named as accused in the FIR on the Sheikhpura violence. He runs a coaching centre, where he also tells students about the Dal. At 23, he is also a “nagar adhyaksh” for the BJP. “I have worked a lot. I have the strength, too. Now, if I get one call, I can mobilise 500 men,” he says.
Also named in the FIR is Nitish Rana, 19, a second-year BA student and one of those at Vijay’s coaching centre and, of course, a Dal member. “How we recruit people is that we carry a form. All of our members in their areas go to the villages and talk to people about the threat to Hindu faith. We tell everyone to keep an hour aside every day for this,” says Rana.
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