PUCL Bulletin, August 2002
Bihar PUCL Report
The Committee visited
the place of occurrence on 18" May 2002 and met a large number of
villagers including the members of the victims' family. Subsequently,
it also spoke to the Officer-In-Charge, Masaurhi and the Dy. Superintendent
of Police, SK Barnawal. The villagers who spoke to the PUCL team included
Manohar Ravidas (son of the deceased Baleshwar Das), Baleshwar Das's mother,
Ram Baran Ram, Sheo Pujan Ram, Suryadeo Prasad, Ram Pyare Singh, Jitendranath
Pande, Phulwasia Devi, Raj Munna Devi, Sitapati Devi, Sita Kanwar Devi,
and Deopari Devi.
Manohar Ravi Das: I was sleeping in the middle room. In the southern room were my mother, Bhabhi, and two nephews while my father was in the northern room. My wife and daughter were with me. I heard the sound of firing and kept hiding The killers went to the southern room and fired, they also went to the northern room and shot my father dead. They left within a few minutes after gunning them down. All except my Bhabhi were shot in the head from a close range. My Bhabhi was shot in the chest. My grandmother was not at home. My brother had also gone out on a job and was not at home, otherwise they would also have been killed.
When asked what the
motive behind the killing was, he got angry and said, 'Sunil (the killer)
kills only the Ravidas (Chamaar). Why doesn't he kill the Yadavas? He
has killed Ravidas at Mataurha and Datmai also.'
Sunil belonged to his gang. Later, Jainandan Yadav was killed in a police encounter. Following his death, Sunil became the gang leader and a terror in the area. Due to his terror, he could extort any amount from the people in the area. His modus operandi was to stick a notice addressed to a person ordering him to pay a certain amount or face consequences. The people generally paid up or were killed. He also terrorised people by imposing a ban on their land, that is, by ordination that no labourer would work in their fields. Out of terror no labourer would work on such persons' fields causing them unbearable financial loss.
According to the villagers of Bhadaura, Sunil had imposed a ban on the land of one Sheo Yadav of his own village named Bairichak. He had also demanded from him a sum of rupees one lakh. Sheo Yadav is not a rich farmer, but had some conflict with Sunil. The villagers said that the labourer from Bhadaura had stopped working in Sheo Yadav's field, though a few worked in the field of Hitwaran Yadav of the same village. However, some people said that there was a 'ban' on his land also though it was not known to all. So, some labourers went to work in his field (i.e., Hitwaran Yadav's field).
The villagers spoke bitterly about the role of the politicians and administration. The leaders help them, i.e., the criminals. The administration gives them protection (Netaa un logon ko madad karte hain. Prashaashan unko sanrakshan detaa hai').
The Dy. SP S.K. Barnawal
also confirmed the background of Sunil Yadav as stated above.
In fact, he gave a
detailed account of the background of Jainandan Yadav and Sunil and of
the villagers, which is not being included here, as it has no bearing
on the matter under inquiry. Two things stated by him are significant.
First, that Baleshwar Ravidas did defy Sunil's ban and worked in the field
of Sheo Yadav and second, that it is a fact that Sunil had been deliberately
targetting the members of the Chamaar caste The reason for his special
hostility is to be found in the clash between Ram Iqbal Ram of the PWG
and the Jainandan Yadav gang of which Sunil has been a member. He also
mentioned that Sunil had victimised Chamaars, which included some people
related to Madeerji (Ram Iqbal Ram)
He admitted that in
spite of their efforts, they had not been able to arrest Sunil though
attachment of his property had been done.
Observation: It is both strange and ironical that though the people unanimously declare that criminals enjoy the protection of the political leaders and the administration, voting in elections does not reflect this popular anger. It is common experience that the popular anger is expressed through 'Bandh' or strike, but is seldom directed against the party in power.
At the time of elections other considerations dominate and the role of the representative or party in power is not taken into account collectively. As a result, the people's representatives have no fear of the popular anger roused on account of protecting criminals or indulging in criminal acts.
-- Prabhakar Sinha,
National Vice President; Ram Chandra Lal Das, President, Bihar PUCL; Kishori
Das, General Secretary, Bihar PUCL; Mithilesh Kumar, Secretary, Bihar