Black exiled from Nitish Kumar's meetings



Patna: Fear of black flags appears to haunt Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Police said Sunday that those donning black or carrying umbrellas or flags that are black will not be allowed to attend the chief minister's public meetings.

The instructions to the police come at a time when the chief minister is holding public meetings in different parts of the state as part of the ongoing Adhikar Yatra, aimed at mobilising support for special category status for Bihar, which would allow the state larger funds from the central government.

The move to ban black comes close on the heels of protests witnessed during the Adhikar Yatra last week, when contractual teachers (also called para teachers) took out protests carrying black flags at different places.

It reportedly angered the chief minister that para teachers and students at different places showed him black flags.

The para teachers held up black flags against Nitish Kumar in Begusarai, Khagaria, Darbhanga and other places, demanding parity in pay and allowances with regular teachers.

"Nitish Kumar not only ordered an unprecedented security arrangement for his public meetings, he also directed top officials not to allow anything black inside the meetings," a district official in Bhagalpur district said, Sunday.

On Sunday, even old men carrying black umbrellas were unable to enter Nitish Kumar's public meeting in Bhagalpur, a policeman said.

A police official said the ban on black was also imposed at the public meeting held Saturday in Purnea.

A Hindi daily published from Jamui district, where the chief minister would be addressing the public Monday, carried a news item about instructions being issued to authorities to not allow entry of people dressed in black at the meeting.

The district administration has issued advertisements in local vernacular dailies informing the public to steer clear of black at Nitish Kumar's meeting.

IANS