Rights Activists Demand Justice for Forbesganj Victims; Plan Dharna

M Reyaz  BeyondHeadlines

New Delhi: A group of human rights’ activists, journalists, teachers and students have come together to press for justice for the victims of Forbesganj Firing case and to take the case forward.

Residents of Rampur and Bhajanpur villages under Forbesganj block in Araria district of Bihar came out to protest against blockade of the connecting road between the two villages for a factory on June 3 after the Friday prayer.

There are reports that the police opened fire on the protesters killing at least six villagers, including two women and an infant.

The land was given to the Auro Sundaram International Company by Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority to set up a glucose factory. A power plant was also coming up.


A victim of Forbesganj police firing (Courtesy: TCN)

BeyondHeadlines has learned that the construction work in the factory has been halted and police force has been deployed in the area. The situation is still tense, but is under control now.

A group of journalists, activists, students and rights activists, mostly from Bihar, have come together under the banner of ‘Committee for Justice to Forbesganj Police Firing Victims’ (CJVFF) to press the case and will stage a Dharna at Bihar Bhawan in the capital on June 13, from 11:00 am onwards.

Both villages have predominantly Muslim population and many are accusing the Nitish Kumar led NDA government of communal witch-hunting.

Former Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan wrote a letter to the Prime Minster alleging a “political conspiracy” to eliminate Muslims.

The state government has ordered judicial probe to enquire the circumstances that led to the police firing. They, however, have maintained that only four persons were killed.

Shabnam Hashmi led Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) has brought out a report claiming, “Five people, including one woman and a six-month-old infant and an unborn baby were killed and 9 others injured.”

The state committee of CPI (M) also sent a fact finding team and alleged that the main culprit responsible for the whole episode, Ashok Agarwal who is also the local MLC, has got the patronage of the Nitish Kumar government.

Subhashini Ali has accused the NDA regime of propagating “programmes of communal polarization.” She also said, “the larger picture of the Forbesganj firing incident is that Nitish Kumar government has failed to stop the communal polarization of the state and has given the saffron party a free hand.”

Mahtab Alam, a Delhi based rights activist who was instrumental in forming the committee told media that they have “three clear cut demands for the Bihar government – Time bound judicial probe, immediate suspension and registration of FIR for all the police personnel involved, and a compensation of at least Rs. 10 lakhs as proposed in the Communal and Targeted Violence Bill to each family along with government service to one of the dependents.”

Alam told BeyondHeadlines, “They will also submit a memorandum to the Chinese embassy to highlight targeted killings of minorities in Bihar.”

Nitish Kumar is scheduled to go to China on June 13 to attract investments.

The Committee is also planning to approach the National Commission for Women (NCW) and National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) as those killed in the firing include two women and an infant.

They will soon send a “fact finding team” to Forbesganj.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Commission for Minorities (NCM) too are looking into the matter. NCM has also assured that they will also send their own team soon.

Besides these demands, ANHAD has also demanded an apology from the state CM an alternative road to the village on government land.


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