Temple fire sparks tension in Bihar’s Kishanganj

Patna | Updated: 12 March, 2023 9:08 pm IST
Locals blame "anti-social elements" for setting the temple on fire in Kishanganj, Bihar.

Tensions were running high on Sunday after a blaze gutted an ancient temple of Goddess Durga in Kisanganj district of Bihar, nearly 400 km from capital Patna.

Situated at Maston Chowk in Kochadhaman area adjacent to the main city market, the Durga Mata temple burnt for hours and the fire was finally put off by firefighters with the help of locals at around 4 am on Sunday morning.

The reason behind the fire is still not clear. The police have called it an “accidental fire”.

However, locals blamed “anti-social elements” for putting the temple on fire to create unrest in the area.

Apart from the temple, four stops were also gutted in the fire, causing losses running in lakhs to shopkeepers.

In protest, locals laid siege on the Kishanganj-Bahadurganj road – the busiest road in the district – demanding strict action against the perpetrators and compensation for those affected.

After hours, local police persuaded the protesters to lift the blockade, bringing respite to stranded commuters.

In a statement, the district administration said that an appropriate amount of ex-gratia will be provided to the affected shopkeepers. It also announced to fund the renovation of the temple.

Meanwhile, the local police said it will go down to the bottom of the incident to ascertain its cause. It also issued an appeal to common men asking them not to spread any rumours related to the incident.

Speaking to media persons, Kishanganj district magistrate (DM) Saket Kumar assured that the culprits, if any, would be caught soon.

“Such an incident won’t be tolerated. Police will conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain all facts related to the incident,” DM Kumar said, adding, “Strict action will be taken against whoever is found guilty”.

He further said, “A watchman is stationed at this spot, but he was not here at the time of the fire. He will be interrogated.”

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