The Chief Minister, Government of Bihar, Patna
Sub: CBI enquiry into the nexus between politicians, the police and criminals
leading to rampant extortion, kidnapping and murder at Muzaffarpur.
and murder of those who do not comply with the demands of the criminals
has assumed the form of a lucrative business of which many politicians,
policemen are also beneficiaries. This scourge has become indigenous in
this state with the blessing of those in power. It is not a secret that
there are ministers, legislators and some others in position of power
and influence who are and have been criminals and are known to be patrons
of and beneficiaries of crime. The police have been protecting the criminals
either under the pressure of their patrons or because they themselves
are in collusion with them. The people of the state have been helpless
victims of this nexus.
The business community of Muzaffarpur has been either paying 'Ranguari'
to criminals or having their members murdered. Many of them chose to leave
the State of Bihar to settle elsewhere where they could do business and
still be alive. Extortionists also targeted the employees of the local
University. A delegation of teachers met the Chancellor a few years ago
to seek protection. Kidnapping for ransom has been equally rampant. The
victims have not necessarily been very rich persons. Teacher and other
employees have also been targeted. What has been most agonizing is the
feeling that the administration has complete knowledge of the criminals
and their crimes, but refuses to act for the reasons mentioned above.
The helpless suffering has been breeding helpless anger.
It was in this context that when four or five year old Colu was kidnapped
in broad day light from the heart of the town by the kidnappers known
to the police, and the police despite all assurance for his rescue could
produce only his mutilated body the whole town rose in spontaneous non-violent
revolt -- the angry populace with no one to turn to with their complaint.
Since to them the politicians in power too, were the patrons of the criminals
resorted to brick batting at the police at some places. The police instead
of showing understanding and restraint shot eight of them like dogs (the
figure of the dead in the firing various from 8 to 10). Two of the victims,
"who were shot dead near Kazzi Muhammadpur, were standing at a place
(at the time of being shot dead) from which they could do no harm to the
police nor could be a member of the crowd confronting the police. Due
to the curfew in the town, I was unable to visit other places and am not
in a position to detail the circumstances in which the firing was restored
You have ordered a judicial enquiry, which does not meet the requirement
of the situation. For one, its recommendation is not binding on the Government.
Second, it is not likely to shed any light on the nexus between criminals
and politicians. Thirdly, it is not a forum for the prosecution of the
culprits. Fourthly, an organized people do not have the resources and
know-how to effectively represent their case against the police which
has the full financial support of the government and the expertise to
fight its case. And finally, the track record of RJD Government, which
uses a judicial enquiry to sabotage any other enquiry which may expose
the culprits and lead to their punishment. To cite one example, when in
September 1995, the police ran amok and attacked Muzaffarpur Institute
of Technology brutally assaulting the principal, teachers and scores of
students a judicial enquiry was ordered, but never held. It was only a
ruse to bar the National Human Rights Commission from conducting an enquiry
on our complaint (i.e., the complaint of the PUCL). The guilty policemen
got off scot free ) The people want the guilty punished and the end of
the ongoing crime. This can be achieved only if the nexus between the
politicians, criminals and the police of the district are exposed and
criminal cases instituted against the guilty. The state police cannot
do this. It is therefore, necessary to hand over the cases of kidnapping
and killing for ransom which took place in the district during the last
two years to the CBI Judicial Enquiry does not stand in the way of investigation
of crime and institution of criminal cases.
I am not aware of the justification offered by the police for shooting
as any as eight persons, but if the plea is that they killed them in self-defense
they should be prosecuted. Every citizen has the right to shoot even kill
in self defense, but he is required to establish before a court of law
that shooting was necessary for his defense. If he fails to convince the
court, he is held to be guilty of murder and punished. The police, too,
are required to establish that they really opened fire in self-defense
because the situation so demanded. There is no separate law for the police.
In view of the facts mentioned above, I urge you to order a CBI enquiry
into the cases of kidnapping and killing of extortion which took place
during the last two years and order the prosecution of the policemen who
claim to have opened fire in self defense so that their claim may be examined
by a court of law.
These two steps are the minimum that can be taken to bring the culprits
to book and to make the police less trigger-happy.
- Prabhakar Sinha,
National Vice President, PUCL