India

Forbesganj Police Firing: Kins of Victims Demand Justice

BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter

Patna: After more than 14 days of the brutal killings five poor villagers by criminal bullets of Bihar Police at Bhajanpur, a locality in the Forbesganj municipality in Araria District of Bihar, relatives of the victims are running from pillar to post for justice. Although on May 20, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered a judicial enquiry into the incident, those who have lost their dear ones are not satisfied with mere announcement of the judicial probe.

They are demanding time-bound probe, dismissal of the guilty police officers, an immediate compensation of Rs 10 lakh, government jobs for one person from each victim’s family, quashing of cases filed against the villagers and apology from the chief minister. They also want an investigation into the role of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi who paid a visit to the village a few days before the police firing.

On June 3, police bullets and atrocities took five lives, including an seven-month-old baby, a pregnant woman and an injured man, who was heinously stomped to death.

“My son is dead. They killed him by jumping on him and kicking him. Now what kind of inquiry will they conduct? As for compensation, will they give us a house under Indira Vikas Yojna. Will that house compensate for my son’s death,” asks Mohammad Phatkan Ansari, who lost his son in the firing. Adds Haji Usmaan, an injured villager’s relative, “Tell me, who’s wiping our tears or looking into the treatment of the injured. What should we expect from the judicial inquiry?”

The villagers have come to the capital with Anhad, an NGO that led a fact-finding team to Bhajanpura village in north Bihar’s Forbesganj district where the police firing occurred on June 3. Among those killed were a woman and a six-month-old baby. The villagers were protesting against the grant of land to a factory that would have blocked the only road connecting Bhajanpura to the outside world.

The Anhad team has submitted a detailed fact-finding report to Syeda Hameed and Ashwani Kumar of the Planning Commission, Wajahat Habibullah of the National Minorities Commission, Justice K G Balakrishnan, chairperson, National Human Rights Commission and Hamid Ansari, vice-president of India.

“All of them were aghast and perturbed seeing the footage of the policeman jumping on an injured man and kicking him even as he writhed in pain,” said Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad, who led the fact-finding team.

The relatives of the victims also met Sonia Gandhi. “She gave them a patient hearing and hugged the mother of one of the victims. She has assured all support to the family members,” said Dr Shakeel Ahmed, Congress party spokesperson.

Meanwhile on June 20, Nitish Kumar informed the media in the city that the state government had approached the chief justice of Patna High Court to appoint a sitting judge for the probe. “We should wait for the inquiry report. We will swiftly act on the basis of the report,” he said.

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