Host Nitish Kumar sat among the Muslim believers and listened to taqreer or Islamic religious sermons on Friday evening.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched an attack on Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for hosting an Iftar party at his official residence at a time when Bihar was “simmering with communal tensions” after Ram Navami clashes last week.
The party for Muslim believers, who observe roja (fast) during the holy month of Ramzan is being held at the chief minister’s residence provided by the government in Patna.
Calling for a boycott of the event, senior BJP leader and former Assembly Speaker Vijay Sinha said CM Kumar should focus on restoring law and order in the state.
Muslims and Hindus clashed during processions on the occasion of Ram Navami in at least four district of Bihar.
“Law and order situation in Bihar has collapsed, resulting in communal violence that has left a large number of people victimized in Sasaram and Bihar Sharif,” Sinha told reporters at the Bihar Legislative Assembly complex.
He further said: “Bihar is burning in the fire of violence, and the chief minister should focus on restoring law and order in the state instead.”
He criticized the Nitish Kumar government for failing to stop the violence, which erupted during the Ram Navami procession and has continued to escalate.
The communal tension in Bihar Sharif, which is the home district of the chief minister, has been particularly severe. The city saw more than a dozen shops and godowns set ablaze during the violence, and the Madrasa Azizia, a more than 100-year-old religious school with a library of 4,500 books, was also burnt down. Stones were pelted at a nearby mosque, and a young man was killed in the firing that followed. Local people say that there has not been this level of violence in the city since 1981.
In this tense environment, the BJP’s opposition to the Iftar party has added fuel to the fire, with some accusing the party of playing politics with religion. However, Sinha defended the party’s stance, saying that they reject such events that distract from the more pressing issues facing the state.
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar’s supporters have defended the Iftar party, saying that it is a symbol of communal harmony and a way to reach out to the Muslim community. They argue that the chief minister is doing his best to restore peace and order in the state, and that the BJP should support his efforts instead of criticizing them.