By Dev Raj 

Bihar police have arrested a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader in Darbhanga for allegedly hoisting “Hindu Rashtra” banners and trying to disturb communal harmony, but were forced to release him on bail after a large number of VHP and Bajrang Dal activists laid siege to the police station in the presence of the local BJP MLA.

VHP additional district secretary Rajiv Prakash Madhukar was arrested on Friday evening on the charge of hoisting saffron banners and flags with “Hindu Rashtra” written on them.

The flags and banners had appeared on March 22 on the occasion of the beginning of the New Year in keeping with the lunar calendar followed by Hindus in different parts of the country. The day coincides with Gudi Padwa, Ugadi and Chaitra Navratra.

As photographs and videos of the banners and flags were widely circulated on social media, several local people complained about it to the police.

“We received information from Maulaganj locality under Laheriasarai police station on March 23 that some anti-social elements were trying to harm social and religious harmony by putting up objectionable posters and banners. The officials from the police station verified and confirmed the information,” a statement issued by the Darbhanga district police said.

“Accordingly, an FIR against four named and 100 unnamed persons was registered under relevant Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections on the basis of intelligence inputs on the attempt to hurt religious sentiments by putting up banners,” the police said.

The police called a meeting of the “district peace committee” — an association of eminent persons chosen by the administration — on Friday evening. Madhukar, the VHP leader named in the FIR, attended the meeting. He was arrested after the meeting…

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