Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar may have earned compliments for his administration’s zero-tolerance policy towards crime in his previous three terms—closing the insulting Jungle Raj repeat-phrase that defined the state before his rule. But his latest tenure has thrown up a big challenge on the law and order front. A spate of crimes—murder, abduction, looting and robbery—appears to have caught his administration unawares within days of him taking the reins again after the state elections this autumn that the JD(U)-BJP combine won after a close fight. Lawlessness in Bihar, right from the state capital to mofussil towns, stares in Nitish’s face. It has forced him to chair as many as three meetings to review the law and order in quick succession. Without mincing words, he told the cops to either pull up their socks or face action. The chief minister has more than one reason to worry about the crime graph moving up soon after the elections.
In the past few days, armed outlaws shot dead a woman schoolteacher, firing into her eye when she resisted a robbery in central Patna. A resident of Dehri-on-Sone, she had come to celebrate her first wedding anniversary with her husband. In another case, brothers Rakesh Kumar Gupta and Amit Kumar Gupta, both businessmen, disappeared mysteriously and the police have not been able to trace them even after a week. In Darbhanga, ornaments worth Rs 7 crore were looted from a jewellery shop. It was daytime robbery, not far from a police station. In Khagaria district, the murder of a JD(U) member and another from the RJD in quick succession embarrassed the government. There are more such crimes, which have alarmed the Opposition as well as leaders of the JD(U)-BJP alliance. Bihar BJP president and MP, Sanjay Jaiswal, and senior party legislator Sanjay Saraogi have expressed concern.