PUCL Bulletin, October 2001

The Report of Bihar and Jharkhand PUCL
Encounter Between the Police and Md. Shahabuddin's Group at Pratappur, District-Siwan on 16.03.2001

The state PUCL constituted a committee consisting of Dr. Prabhakar Sinha, National Vice President, Shri Ramchandra Lal Das, State President, Prof. Vinay K. Kantha, State Vice President, Shri Kishori Das, State General Secretary and Dr. B.D. Prasad, a member of the State Council to enquire into the incident of the encounter in which nine persons including a policeman lost their lives and several were injured. The Committee visited Pratappur on 01.04.2001 where it met scores of villagers and spent several hours visiting scores of houses which were allegedly vandalised by the police on 16th March, 2001. Those who spoke to the committee included the members of the families of the men who were killed or injured and the others whose houses had been vandalised.

The eye witnesses included the wife of Md. Shahabuddin, the R.J.D. M.P., his father and many others who had been looking after his bungalow. After spending several hours at Pratappur, the Committee went to the Hussain Ganj Police Station, where it met its Officer Incharge, Sheoji Singh along with many other police Officers, including some officers from Mufassil Thana. The FIRs. Connected with the incident, the police dossier in which Md. Shahabuddin figures and reports appearing in the media were also examined. On 08.04.2001, a visit was made to Patna Medial College & Hospital to meet Ekramul and a police officer named Rameshwar Patwari who were undergoing treatment for the injuries caused by the firing resulting in their being paralysed.


The District Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Superintendent of Police and some others who were involved in the incident had been transferred from Siwan and could not be contacted. The M.P. Md. Shahabuddin also could not be contacted. Since they could not be contacted to obtain their version, care has been taken not to attribute any specific act to anyone of them regarding their role in the firing and vandalism.
2. The incident in which the police and the supporters of Md. Shahabuddin, the R.J.D. M.P. engaged each other for hours in an encounter resulting in the loss of lives and an open challenge to the administration cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the background and authority of the concerned M.P. Md. Shahabuddin who was first elected to the Bihar Vidhan Sabha and later to the Lok Sabha. He has been elected to the Lok Sabha for the last two elections. Before entering the electoral fray, he had already earned notoriety for his muscle power. Since 1985 only, he has been involved in more than thirty criminal cases, which include allegations of murder, kidnapping and possessing illegal arms and explosives etc. Since he enjoyed full support of the R.J.D. government, he could commit crimes with impunity, as the administration did not dare take appropriate action against him. When the State itself promotes and protects a person with such criminal record and the party in power offers him its ticket to fight elections, he acquires an image of invincibility. The M.P. from Siwan grew into such a figure and his terror became so great that no one except the C.P.I. (M-L) Liberation had the guts to challenge him.

This party lost many of its men including late Chandrashekhar, a student leader of the Jawaharlal Nehru University who was shot dead in full view of the people while addressing a meeting at Siwan because he defied his reign of terror in the district. So great is his terror that nobody comes forward to depose as a witness in cases against him, and as a result, he gets acquitted. Later on this terror became so all embracing that even during elections the people did not dare speak against him. The police were demoralised primarily because they knew that the officers were generally posted at Siwan who were more than willing to dance to his tune. He had the audacity to fire at the S.P. of the district Mr. Singhal, who was promptly transferred when he instituted a case against him. The police allege that slapping of junior police officers was quite a routine affair for him. He is alleged to have slapped at least twelve sub inspectors of police in the district.

How servile the district administration was to Md. Shahabuddin can be understood by what the Editor of the Hindustan Times, Patna reports: "I asked the District Magistrate, Rashid Ahmad Khan, during the last election about the fear psychosis that has gripped Siwan and how not a single person was prepared to speak against the RJD don in the open. Pat came the reply: 'For the people of Siwan, Shahabuddin is as respected a leader as Gandhi is for the entire nation People speak in favour of him out of love, not out of fear.' The same Mr. Khan was the D.M. on the fateful day.

Different Versions of The Incident: 1. The version of the police is available in the different FIRs filed by them on the incident. The F.I.R. filed by the D.S.P. Sanjiv Kumar on 15.03.2001 (Mufasil Case No. 32/2001) states that following information, that an accused wanted in several cases (cited in the FIR) was intimidating examinees of Matriculation examinations at the Daroga Raj College Examination centre, he proceeded to arrest him. He was accompanied by several police men, named and they reached the college at 15.30 p.m. There he found Md. Shahabuddin with several others carrying fire arms in a state of readiness. When he told the M.P. that he had to arrest the people wanted in some cases, the MP lost his temper and said, "How will you arrest my men; in Siwan only my fiat runs. It is beyond anybody's power to arrest my men", "But his police party advanced to arrest the wanted men. On this, the MP grew very angry (Aag Baboola Ho Gaye), and ordered his men to attack the police. They including the MP himself began to fire on the police with various arms including pistols and A.K.-47. The police did not fire back for fear that the students could be injured. The criminals advanced to kill and snatch the firearms of the police. The police retreated, and the criminals also fled in their respective vehicles.

The F.I.R. by Sheoji Singh OC of Hussain Ganj police station filed on 17.03.2001 in case no. 38/2001 relates to the raid of Pratappur on 16.03.2001, and the occurrences there. According to him, on 15.03.2001, Md. Shahabuddin and his associates obstructed the police and also fired on the police force when they went to arrest a wanted accused Manoj Kumar Pappu. They received reliable information that Pappu along with some other persons named therein are staying at the house of the local M.P. Md. Shahabuddin. When he discussed the matter with the S.P. he directed him to arrange for necessary police force for a raid, and he also said that he would also join it. As soon as the police party reached a spot about 100 yards south to the tea-shop, the police party was fired upon by the criminals who had been lying in wait in the houses situated to the east and the west of the road, and were firing from modem fire arms with which they were equipped. In the meanwhile, the S.P., D.M. and a Iittle later the D.I.G. also reached. From the house in the west. Md. Shahabuddin, Satyendra Tiwary, Manoj Kumar alias Pappu and a criminal Guddu along with 8-10 others were firing on the police to kill and loot their arms.

The constable Basuki Nath Pandey was hit by a bullet coming from the house situated in the west. He showing courage fired back. The other police force also fired in self defence and also to protect the arms. The criminals continued the firing and advanced further and torched three vehicles of the police. Then he requested the S.P. for additional force. When the Control Room was directed to send more force immediately, information was given by it that the U.P. Police which had come for some raid were also there. Considering the gravity of the situation, the S.P. requested the U.P. police through the control room to proceed towards Terhi Ghat side. After half an hour, the information that the U.P. police had arrived was received. Meanwhile the police were gradually advancing, but the criminals (named in the F.I.R.) along with several others continued to fire and retreat. In course of the encounter, Inspector Ram Singh, constable Balister Giri and Rameshwar Paswan were injured. The police found some dead people along with arms.

Then they reached Md. Shahabuddin's 'Baithak' and searched his house (Awas), and found two live hand grenades and one empty shell. From a criminal named Hasan Mian who was on the roof one loaded A.K-47 with six live bullets were recovered. 10 to 12 criminals were seen fleeing while firing from their weapons. They were also exploding bombs. The police chased and arrested a few. From the south the U.P. police were also firing. (The FIR then names some dead and arrested and also gives the details of who from amongst the police force fired and how many rounds).

The next F.I.R. is also by the Hussain Ganj OC Sheoji Singh (Case No. 33/2001). It gives the details or the arms recovered by the police after the criminals had left the village. According to it, the following were found:
1. 3 cartridges of S.L.R. from the pocket of deceased Feroz alias Teni.
2. From the 'Baithak' of Md. Shahabuddin, one regular Rifle of .315 bore with cartridges loaded in it.
3. 9 mm pistol with ten cartridges from the floor near the body of deceased Arif alias Sheikh Wasim.
4. From the roof of the deceased Haroon Mian one AK-47 with 61oaded cartridges.
5. Two hand grenades.
6. From near the deceased Ainul Haque AK-47 with 16 cartridges in the magazine.
7. From near the deceased Quuddus Khan, AK-47 with 18 cartridge.
Another F.I.R. is by one Mahesh Kumar Mehta, who has been deputed as the body guard of Md. Shahabuddin. He belongs to the Bihar Military Police and is a constable, his No. being 29 B.M.P. Dehri. According to him, on that day he heard that some criminals had surrounded (the M.P.), and they took their position, but then he saw that it was the police that had surrounded from all sides, and then firing between the M.P. and his supporters on one hand and the police on the other began.

They hid themselves to save their lives at different places. After the firing came to an end the police proceeded to their guardroom. They saw that the lock of the guardroom was opened, and two S.L.R. and cartridges were missing which Shahabuddin and his supporters had taken away. One S.L.R. was left behind.
The versions of the D.M Rashid Ahmad Khan is available from his letter to the Commissioner and Secretary (Home Special Branch) published in the Hindustan Times, Patna. According to him, he was informed by the SDO Mansoor Ahmad Ejazi at 9.45 p.m. on 15.03.2001 that in the afternoon the SDPO Sanjiv Kumar had gone to execute a warrant of arrest against Manoj Kumar who is well known as the President of RJD. 'When the SDPO tried to arrest Mr. Pappu, the Honourable Member of Parliament, Md. Shahabuddin objected to it. The MPs men and the police perhaps also came to blows because of which the situation became tense. Soon after getting this information from the SDO, I contacted the S.P. Siwan, on phone to find out about the incident but the S.P. appeared to be in a foul mood and said that, "enough is enough, and that we police men will fix the M.P. and his men." The D.M. then claims to have informed the Commissioner, Saran and the D.I.G. of Police apart from the DGP. On receiving instruction from the D.I.G. who had reached Siwan the D.M. went to see him at the Circuit House at 10 am on 16.03.2001 and was subjected to a murderous attack! At 10.15 a.m. armed Jawans of the police reached the gates of the Circuit House and entered its premises shouting "Kill them, kill them, kill the D.M. and the D.I.G." They were accompanied by SDPO Sanjiv Kumar and probationer Dy. S.P. Ashwini Kumar Singh. There was then sound of two gun shots. Then the D.M. and the D.I.G. hid in a room and started shouting for help and "prayed to Allah and the Lord as well".

He mentions the brutal knocking on the door by the policemen and how the door was on the point of giving way and how the police men also pointed their rifles at him through the window. According to him, the SDPO asked him to accompany the police to Pratappur to teach Shahabuddin a lesson.
Then he describes how they hid in the bathroom and labours the point why he did not want to go to Pratappur as the police were in a foul mood, though the S.P. assured him that that nothing of the sort would happen. "Left with no alternative, I went downstairs with them against my wishes and got into the S.P.'s vehicle'. When the D.I.G. did not accompany them they once against started shouting "kill, kil1'." I got so scared that I rushed back to the D.I.G. upstairs."

The D.M. has this to say about the incident at Pratappur:
"We were about to cross the first Tola of Pratapur village when gunfire could be heard coming from the village from 2 or 3 directions".
He further states, "a heavy exchange of fire continued for a long time. There was a lull in the firing, and as the brickshed behind which the D.I.G. was hiding had caught fire, the D.I.G. and the Jawans who had been injured, came out of their place of hiding and fled. It was then that I, too, fled towards a house behind me. The S.P. then told the D.I.G. that a message had been sent to the U.P. police, they had arrived to help. The U.P. police, he said, was accompanied by the D.I.G. Gorakhpur. The situation was such that the D.I.G. Saran had to keep hidden everything that would identify him. Afraid as he was of the Jawans who were angry with him, he had hidden his name plate, police cap, belt and other things in the shed. When the firing from the village subsided somewhat two and half hours later, the SDPO and the commandoes began advancing and moved to the next tola. The D.I.G. then told me that we could now return.

At about 3.45 pm the two of us began to make our way back."
The village and the villagers' tale of woe: The village looked affluent compared to an average village in the state. Most of the houses were 'pucca'. Many of them including that of Md. Shahabuddin's ancestral house were old which led to the inference that they were not built with money recently earned. Shahabuddin 'Baithak' was newly built and was well-furnished. The people who spoke to us including those who were in the charge of Shahabuddin's 'Baithak' were courteous and hospitable. They had cell phones with which they seemed to be constantly in touch with some people. Our arrival was followed by the arrival of a few jeans and T-shirt clad young men who reached there by motor bikes, and accompanied us to the houses which had been vandalized. We were shown the cars in Md. Shahabuddin's compound which had been burnt. There were altogether seven vehicles. They were Baleno (2), Maruti Van (2). The damaged vehicles included one ambassador, one Tata Sierra, one Bullet motorcycle. His Baithak had been completely vandalized, furniture smashed to pieces, almirah broken open, photographs and other articles meant for decoration and a telephone set totally destroyed. One of Md. Shahabuddin's photograph had been shot through. When the committee visited his home, his wife Ms. Heena said that the police broke open the door of their bed-room looking for her husband. She was so terrified that they would kill her and their son if they knew their identity that she told them that she was Md. Shahabuddin's sister and dressed their son as a girl to conceal his identity.

The committee spent about four hours visiting the houses which had been vandalised and meeting the members of the families of the people killed or injured. According to the villagers the following were killed by the police:
1. Nazimuddin, a pipe fitter who was on leave from his job in the Middle East. 2. Ainul Haque (65), who was a farmer. 3. Feroz (18) was unemployed. 4. Quuddus Khan (45) worked in Dubai. 5. Arif (12-14) was a student. 6. Harun (25) had installed a 'Chakki' (grinding mill). 7. One Hindu (name unknown). 8. One Muslim (name unknown). The villagers cremated the one and buried the other. Nobody had gone to the village to claim or enquire about them till 1 April, 2001.

The following were injured: 1. Resham (12) bullet injury in the neck. 2. Ekramul (25) shot on the side leading to the paralysis of the lower portion of the body including the legs. He was hospitalised and was in the PMCH till 8 April, 2001. 3. Mahfooz (14), who said that the police shot him at his house without any rhyme or reason. 4. Phool Muhammad (65) was shot after the police broke open his house and dragged his son who was shot dead. 5. Shabiullah (45) injured by beating. 6. Neehan (7) is being treated at Gorakhpur. 7. One Sharma who works as a carpenter and is an inhabitant of Shankarpur was shot at the thigh. (The people mentioned above were not available at the village for verification of the injuries by the Committee).

Ms. Mazaronisa and Ms Sami, the wife and the sister-in-Iaw respectively of Nizamuddin said that the police broke open their door and entered the house hurling filthy abuses at them. "We told the police that both of them worked abroad, but they took them away, sent one to the jail and killed the other". Rasmuddin, Nizamuddin's brother is in jail.

Quuddus was also caught from the house and killed according to Tohhed Khan, his brother. Quuddus was to leave for Dubai on 20 March, 2001. The committee was shown his passport and the ticket.

The mother of Ejaz said that her son was arrested at about 4 p.m. The police asked him about Shahabuddin's whereabout. Md. Masud said that he had gone to the Masjid for offering Namaz at 12 noon. When he returned, he hid in uncle Kalamuddin's house. The police caught him about 4 p.m. made him sit on a 'chauki' and then shot at him. He was hit on the right hand above the elbow. They left him bleeding and went away.
The people at the house of deceased Arif said that Arif was caught from the Masjid. A girl from the family was also shot, and she sustained injury on the thigh.

Phool Muhammad (66), whose son was shot dead said that the police broke open his door and shot at him. He sustained bullet injury on the chest and arms. Then they took his son away. He heard the sound of a gun fire. His son, according to him, was shot dead on the nearby road.
The women in the house of Ekramul, who is undergoing treatment at PMCH, showed the committee holes made in the wall by the bullets fired from very close range. It was at the level of the bed. There was a big stain of blood on the wall near the bed. They said that the police used filthy language against the female inmates and shot Ekramul.


Ekramul works in Gujarat and was there during the earthquake and had come to his village in the aftermath of the earthquake. The police asked him about Md. Shahabuddin. After shooting and injuring him, they left him writhing in plain. It were the people from the Dainik Jagarn, who took him from there.
Many accused the police of having taken away their money, ornaments and other valuables.

Some of them are as follows:
1. Nabirasul 2. Nainullah, 3. Maniar Prasad, 4. Deepa Devi. She also said that her daughter-in-Iaw was shot in the ear. 5. Asgar Nat, 6. Phool Muhammad, 7. Sheikh Jalil alleged that they took away a box containing a sum of rupees one lakh, which his son had sent for the construction of his house.

Marks of bullets and evidence of vandalism: Scores of houses bore numerous marks of gunshot. Since it is an admitted fact that hundreds of rounds were fired by the police, it had to be so. Looking at the houses with those marks, one was reminded of the action by the army on a town before they enter to capture it, the idea being to break the last resistance. Many of the marks must have been made by the men of Md. Shahabuddin also, who kept the police engaged in a gun battle for several hours.

Vandalism: The act of vandalism was so indiscriminate and widespread that its telltale evidence was too glaring to require any effort to search for them. The women of the vandalised houses spoke of the unmentionable abuses which were hurled at them. Many of them were also beaten up. The village presented irrefutable evidence of a police force which had run amuck and was out to wreak vengeance on the co- villagers of Md. Shahabuddin for no other reason than their belonging to his village.

Statement of two policemen who participated in the police action: Sheoji Singh, the OC Hussainganj, who participated in the raid on Pratappur said that as soon as they reached the outskirt of the village they were greeted with a barrage of fire from the houses in which Shahabuddin's men were well-entrenched. He saw the police jeep catching fire and the police men including the officers jumping out of their burning vehicles. According to him, if the U.P. police had not come to their rescue they would not have returned alive. He also said that Shahabuddin had slapped several junior police officers in the past, and humiliated them in other ways. He said that they felt so humiliated that they felt like laying their uniform down. Speaking about Pratappur, he said that the police would dare not go to that village without adequate preparation so strongly armed were Shahabuddin and his men.
Apart from illegal arms, there were 28 licensed arms at the village ten of which belonged to Shahabuddin's family including two issued to his wife. By chance some police officers from Mofussil including its OC also arrived and confirmed Singh's statement about Shahabuddin. They all appeared perturbed and shocked by the RJD leaders and ministers speaking against the police.

Rameshwar Patwari, a police constable: He is a Tharu, and belonged to Bagaha police in West Champaran. He was posted at the residence of the D.M. Siwan. On 16 March, 2001, he accompanied him to the Circuit House. After some time, the policemen arrived there, and an altercation between the D.M. and the policemen took place. The policemen wanted to force the D.M. to accompany them to Pratappur. Later, the D.M. got scared and locked himself in a room of the Circuit House. After sometime, they all proceeded to Pratappur. Earlier, the D.I.G. was also in the hiding (Nukaaye huye the).
"While our vehicle was still in motion, firing and bomb attack started as soon as we reached Pratappur. One constable was hit as soon as he alighted from the vehicle". He, according to him, is alive and has been transferred to Motihari. Patwari was in the D M.'s vehicle and he hid in a hut along with the D.M. When the hut caught fire they moved from there to another place. It was at this point of time when he was hit by a gunshot. He saw one of the three police jeeps catching fire. A little later, he was hurt by a bomb which resulted in his hand being scorched.

The RJD chief did not go the meet him when he visited the PMCH to meet the injured persons from Pratappur. Even the D.M. Siwan whose guard duty he was assigned to did not care to meet him to extend any help. He said that he was not satisfied with his treatment at the PMCH.

On the basis of the material before us the following are our findings:
1. Md. Shahabuddin is a history sheeter with a 16 year long record of crimes, which include murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, possession of illegal arms and explosives and a number of other crimes. In the police dossier maintained by Hussain Ganj police station, his name figures under Class A. The patronage and defacto immunity from legal action offered to him by the RJD government gradually made him a law unto himself and gave him an aura of invincibility. Since the police has been ever willing to act as the hand-maiden of the power that be, they turned a blind eye to his criminal activities and allowed him to turn Siwan district into his fiefdom where his fiat ran. He grew so arrogant that he began to humiliate the police itself.

At one time, he fired at the S.P. of the district Mr. Singhal, and when he filed a case, he was promptly transferred from there. Shahabuddin's reign of terror has been so complete that nobody dared depose against him in cases in which he was an accused. His sway was made complete by posting servile officers willing to act his stooge. The transferred D.M. Rashid Ahmad Khan, who reportedly found Shahabuddin as popular as Mahatma Gandhi, is probably the best specimen of this tribe. It is in this background that the fateful events have to be understood.

2. On 15.03.2001, the SDPO Sanjiv Kumar went to Daroga Prasad Rai College to arrest Manoj Kumar alias Pappu, who was in the entourage of Md. Shahabuddin. To Shahabuddin, it was a challenge to his power and authority, which he could not ignore without losing his aura of invincibility, and used as he was to insulting and slapping policemen he did the same to the SDPO. The F.I.R. of the SDPO mentions that they were attacked by fire arms and does not mention being slapped, but it has been reported and is widely believed that Shahabuddin slapped him for his temerity to arrest someone from his entourage, especially in his very presence. The D.M.'s letter also mentions exchange of blows. The police officer had to beat a hasty retreat in utter public humiliation. This ignominy was bound to provoke the policemen of Siwan. It is this encounter between a history sheeter arrogant M.P. and a police officer which triggered the subsequent development.

3. This reported statement of the S.P. B.L. Meena to the D.M. that 'enough is enough, and that the police men will fix the M.P. and his men' aptly describes the mood of the police. In this state of anger, the police acted more as an angry mob than a disciplined force capable of controlling their passions and working within the bounds of law. The D.M.'s allegation that the mob of the police men threatened him with death and compelled him and the DIG to lock themselves in the bath-room appears to be true. It also appears to be true that the D.I.G. and the D.M. did not go to Pratappur out of their own choice but out of fear. However, there is no basis for us to say anything about the conduct of any individual as alleged in the D.M.'s letter to the Home Commissioner referred to above.

4. It has been accepted by all concerned including the villagers of Pratappur that the police party was attacked with firearms by Shahabuddin & Co. on reaching the outskirts of the village on the North. Police did not have the courage to advance, and so took position outside the village from where they continued to fire. One Police Inspector was killed and a few constables were injured in the firing. The police force had no courage to enter the village and felt that they were unequal to the apprehending Shahabuddin and his men. In desperation, they asked the U.P. Police to come to their rescue, and only after its arrival, they felt safe, as was clearly stated by Sheoji Singh, O.C.

5. Md. Shahabuddin and his men kept the police engaged in a fierce gun battle for a few hours and also planned their escape. It appears that before the arrival of the U.P. police and being surrounded from the south, they made good their escape. Whether Md. Shahabuddin fled clad in a Sari to avoid being shot at as stated by the OC Hussainganj can neither be ascertained nor has any importance. The police entered the village only after the firing from Shahabuddin's men stopped, i.e., after the horses had bolted. The police were angry when they had left Siwan and were bound to be angrier after the killing of a colleague and injury to other police persons. It was in a mad fury that they entered the village and wreaked vengeance on all without any cause or justification. The vandalism they committed is not permitted against even the non-combatant citizens of an enemy territory during war. It was an unpardonable crime against innocent villagers and deserve stringent punishment. The law does not permit the police to enter the houses of the people and destroy property as was done at Pratappur.

6. It is not possible for us to express any opinion on the allegation of theft of cash, gold etc by the villagers may seek a verdict from the Commission going to enquire into the incident.

7. The inhabitants of Pratappur who were killed by the police have no criminal record. The police admitted this fact. Many of them worked outside the country and had come on leave. Thus villagers who were killed on the day fell victim to the blind vendetta of the police though they were innocent.
The two persons who had not been identified even two weeks after their death and who was nobody might have been outsiders with criminal antecedents residing at the village.

Those who were injured also were persons without any criminal record. The police are guilty of blooded murder of innocent persons, and also of shooting and injuring innocent villagers.

We are not in a position to express any opinion on the allegation that a few were taken to the police station and shot there, as we could not investigate it.

8.There is no reason to disbelieve the candid admission of cowardice and incompetence by the D.M. Rashid Ahmad Khan in his letter to the Home Commissioner, but the spectacle of the head district administration obsessed only with saving his life and skin as is evident from his graphic description of how he locked himself in the bath room and labouring the point that he did not want to go to Pratappur is not edifying or inspiring. From his letter, it is crystal clear that the police were distrustful of and hostile to him. The most obvious reason appears to be his role as Md. Shahabuddin's stooge.
The D.M. is expected to make efforts to control a situation with courage and tact and not to lock himself in a bath-room praying for his life. After all, it is expected of an officer to do his duty even difficult or dangerous circumstances specially if he has to tackle his subordinate staff and not some dangerous enemy.
His conduct has been disgraceful and absolutely unbecoming of an officer of his rank.

9. The D.I.G. C.R. Caswan not only locked himself in the bathroom with the D.M. but also hid everything 'that would identify him'. According to the D.M. 'he had hidden his name plate, police cap, belt and other things in the shed.' Nothing can be more dishonorable for a police officer, specially, because he had been acting so disgracefully out of fear of men who were under his command.

Recommendations:

1. Md. Shahabuddin should be treated at par with other history sheeters of his notoriety and appropriate action should be taken to bring him to the book He should be arrested forthwith by executing non-bailable warrants against him, and vigorous action should be taken to end his so called aura of invincibility and his reign of terror so that the people feel safe in coming forward to appear as witnesses in cases against him.
The case pertaining to the incidents of 15 and 16 March, 2001 should be entrusted to the CBI as the CID of the state cannot be expected to act impartially against an accused who is being honoured by the CM and the RJD chief.

The red-carpet treatment given to him by the CM and the other government functionaries must end, as it is a slap on the face of the law-abiding citizens of the state, and a loud and clear message must be given that a criminal is a criminal undeserving of respect regardless of any office he might have managed to secure or get.

2. The police men involved in killing, injuring or looting at Pratappur must be prosecuted for murder and other offences committed by them.
3. Disciplinary action should be taken against the police men indulging in indiscipline or other forms of unruly behaviour including threatening the DM and DIG.

4. Strict action should be taken against the DM of Siwan for cowardice, incompetence and conduct unbecoming of an officer A separate enquiry should also be conducted to find out the cause of the distrust and hostility of the police to him.

5. Mr. CR Caswan should be punished for cowardice, incompetence and dishonorable conduct A DIG, who hides 'his name plate, police cap, belt and other things' out of fear from his own subordinate does not deserve to don them again.
However, the government should decide on the action to be taken against such an officer.

6 An enquiry should be conducted to find out whether two SLR allegedly taken away from the guard-room by Shahabuddin's men on 16.04.2001 were really taken away or were given to them before. It is pertinent to note that the police men whose SLRs are missing have been on Shahabuddin's personal staff for some time and serving him.

7. Free and effective treatment should be made available to all persons injured in a police action regardless of his role or character. The right to life is inalienable and denial of effective treatment is tantamount to abridging one's right of life. Even enemies in a war are offered proper treatment. In this view of the matter, the villager from Pratappur and the police man, currently admitted to the PMCH should be sent to Delhi at the government cost for treatment, as they are likely to remain paralysed for life if not treated properly.

8. The people whose houses were vandalized should be compensated for their loss after a proper assessment of the loss suffered by them.

9. A definite rule should be framed to regulate payment of compensation to the dead and injured in different circumstances. The absence of any rule has resulted in compensation being paid in a very arbitrary manner often on untenable considerations. This gives a wrong message to the public and undermines respect for the rule of law.

The role of political parties: The conduct of the political parties in the aftermath of the Pratappur encounter has been shameful. With the sole exception of the CPI (ML), all major parties have been directly or indirectly trying to woo Md. Shahabuddin when any party believing in the rule of law should have demanded his immediate arrest. Instead, he was an honoured guest at the CM's residence and was seen sitting between the Speaker of Bihar Assembly (of the Congress) and Mr. Laloo Prasad, the RJD chief. The police officers present on the occasion refrained from doing their duty of arresting him though a non-bailable warrant had been issued against him. The D.G.P. Bihar quietly slunk away when he came face to face with him (as widely reported in the press).
According to an un-contradicted news item published in the Patna edition of the Times of India dated 29th March, 2001, the Congress was not ready to say that Shahabuddin was an outlaw. (Congress wont say if Siwan MP is an outlaw). The Hindustan Times, Patna dated 21.03.2001, published a news item' Samta Team sees plot against Shahabuddin'. According to them, there was a plot to teach the M.P. a lesson because of his differences with Laloo Prasad. Again The Hindustan Times, Patna dated 23.03.2001 reports under a news item, 'Parties vying to win over Shahabuddin' that curiously except for the C.P.I. (M-L) (Liberation), the party which continues to fight the terror unleashed by him in Siwan, the ruling as well as the opposition parties, be it the RJD, Samta, Congress or the BJP, have been guarded in their comments on the Siwan M.P. Instead, the parties have vehemently condemned the then S.P. (Siwan), Bachu Singh Meena, and the entire police set up in Siwan for acting in a biased manner' against the M.P. Only after their hope for getting his support to topple the Rabri Government was belied, a delegation of the BJP met the Governor seeking action against Shahabuddin.

It is a matter of shame for any state when all of its major political parties vie with one another for winning over a notorious history sheeter to retain or get into power. The law abiding decent citizens feel deeply humiliated to find criminals dominating the government as well as the political parties. But such is the grim reality of Bihar for the present.

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