PATNA: Two temples in Kishanganj, Bihar were set on fire in the early hours of 12 March. The Durga Temple and Hanuman Temple were destroyed in the incident, with idols in both temples damaged by the fire, including a Shivling and other idols. Locals alleged that mischievous elements set the temples on fire, but police have denied this and called it an ‘accidental fire.’
The incident occurred at Mastan Chowk in Bagalbari Panchayat in Kochadhaman block of Kishanganj district. The fire also destroyed nearby shops. A police team reached the spot as soon as they received the information, and the fire was put out by the villagers with the assistance of the police. Police and magistrates were deployed together at different places to tackle the sensitive situation. No arrests have been made so far.
किशनगंज जिला के कोचाधामन थानांतर्गत मस्तान चौक पर दि012.03.23 को प्रातः दुर्घटनावश आग लगने की घटना पर पुलिस द्वारा अग्निशमन के सहयोग से नियंत्रण किया गया।— Bihar Police (@bihar_police) March 12, 2023
आम नागरिक एवं मीडिया बन्धुओं से अनुरोध है कि उक्त सम्बन्ध में गलत अफवाह नहीं फैलाये।#BiharPolice @IPRD_Bihar https://t.co/1dKg6Rgyad
After the incident, local Hindus blocked the Kishanganj-Bahadurganj main road, demanding the arrest of the accused within 24 hours, causing a blockade of traffic. Senior police officials reached the spot and were able to convince the protestors to end the blockade by 10 AM. Hindu organizations and their members sat on strike, with a number of BJP politicians also joining in.
The police have appealed to people not to make any false claims and have threatened action against spreading rumors regarding the incident. The Superintendent of Police of Kishanganj issued a press release, saying that there was an accidental fire in the temple, which has been brought under control. “If rumors are spread, strict action will be taken as per the law,” the statement said.
Despite police claims of an accidental fire, locals continue to allege that miscreants set the temples on fire, and protests have been ongoing. Demonstrators are also calling for the installation of CCTV cameras all around the temple, along with the demand for the reconstruction of the temples and restoration of the idols by the government. The administration has responded by bringing bricks and other building materials for the reconstruction of the temples.
At present, the situation is under control, the blockade of the road has been lifted, and there is no law and order issue. Work is being done for the restoration of the affected temple with the participation of the administration and the local people.