Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is all set to kick-start the reconstruction of a temple complex in Bihar's Sitamarhi district April 24. The Sita temple is being re-built in Punaura Dham to reaffirm that Sitmarhi is the Hindu goddess' birthplace.
Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Prabhat Jha, who has also asserted that Sita "came out of Earth at this place," has sent invitation letters to legislators of different parties in Bihar to attend the ceremony, reported The New Indian Express.
But why is the Nitish Kumar government building a temple in Sitmarhi? Is he doing so to heal the recent rift between BJP and his administration?
On March 17, a procession was organized by Bharatiya Navvarsh Jagran Samiti on the eve of Ram Navami in Bihar's Bhagalpur district. The procession that comprised BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal workers was led by Union minister Ashwini Choubey's son Arijit Shashwat.
The rally, however, was not sanctioned by the local administration. The procession was also taken out in a Muslim-dominated area called Medni Chowk, which led to a Hindu-Muslim clash.
Around 14 people were injured in the rally and Shashwat, who was accused of raising provocative slogans, was sent to jail.
After the incident, Nitish Kumar had publicly said that Choubey's son was out of line and that action would be taken against him.
Apart from the Bhagalpur violence, 10 other districts in Bihar had also witnessed intense communal violence during Ram Navami. It had prompted the state government to implement prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC in places like Aurangabad.
Communal violence broke out in Aurangabad during Ram Navami celebrations..— Prakash Arige (@prakasharige) April 3, 2018
నాకు మన ఆంధ్రలోవున్న muslim సోదర్లని చూస్తే చాలా గర్వంగా ఉంటుంది, ముచ్చటేస్తుంది, అందరితో కలిసిపోయి ఎంతో ఆప్యాయంగా వుంటారు. కానీ North India లో మనలాగా కాదు ఎంతో అజ్ఞానంలో బతుకుతుంటారు. ఎప్పుడూ మత గర్షణలే. pic.twitter.com/1mtURPnvwG
@republic @ZeeNewsHindi @ZeeNews @TimesNow @ANI— AMIT SINGH SISODIA (@AMITSISODIA) March 25, 2018
Are you following the communal clash on ram navami in Aurangabad Bihar?? Many killings and curfew now in place.... Please follow this story so the people and government can know what's happening in Bihar... pic.twitter.com/5K4iPEcZhU
Nitish Kumar had also directed his administration to detain wrongdoers irrespective of their political affiliation. Nearly 200 people were arrested out of which 20 were BJP leaders, reported NDTV.
The arrests — especially that of Shashwat — did not go down well with BJP. So, the reconstruction of the temple may be Nitish Kumar's way of appeasing its ally in the BJP-JD(U) alliance.
The Bihar CM will announce the reconstruction during the annual Janaki festival beginning April 17.