Police firing at Kurhani
The PUCL, Muzaffarpur unit constituted a committee to enquire police firing
at Kurhani on the day of Panchayat Election, i.e., 11th April 2001. The
committee consisted of Dr. Vikas Narayan Upadhyaya. Shri Saheed Kamal,
Shri Vishwa Bandhu, and Prof. Uday Shanker. The committee was authorised
to include more members according to need. Shri Prem Kumar Shrivastava
was included in the team and Shri Arvind Kumar 'Varun' also accompanied
and the visit of the team to Kurhani.
The team visited Kurhani, the place of occurrence, on 22nd April 2001.
The team met Shri Lakshman Bhagat, B.D.O., Kurhani, Shri Premshanker Singh,
Officer Incharge, Kurhani P.S. and A.S.I. (Writer) of Kurhani P.S. The
team also met Shri Pramod Kumar Verma, candidate for Mukhiya, Shri Sheonandan
Rai, Ex. M.L.A., Shri Lakshan Deo Singh an important social worker and
Shri Sambhu Pd Thakur, who presented their views before the team. The
team also visited place of occurrence, Samrat Hardware shop, Gudri and
the local hospital. The team went through the records of the hospital.
The members of team met Shri P. K. Bihari, S.D.O. (West) next day. They
also had talk with Shri Amrendra Mishra, presiding officer of P.S. No.
269. The members tried twice to meet Shri Ravikant Mishra deputed as zonal
Magistrate on that day, but he was not available.
After talking to the concerned parties, the common people and others the
enquiry team reached at the following conclusions.
The root of this unfortunate incident was non-availability of ballot papers
of Zila Parishad on six or seven polling stations owing to carelessness
of the authorities. This led to restlessness and confusion among voters
at polling station No. 268, 269 (situated in Madhya Vidyalaya, Bangra
Banshipur). But the officials present there resumed peaceful polling by
pacifying people and assurance to start voting for Zila Parishad as soon
as the ballot papers were received. The officials succeeded in bringing
order and voting continued peacefully. In the meantime at 12.30 p.m.,
one Gopi Rai candidate of Zila Parishad accompanied by seven or eight
persons arrived on motorcycles. They seized the ballot papers, voter's
list and ballot box; tore the ballot papers and other relevant papers
into pieces and threw away the ballot boxes in the field. After doing
all this, they walked away at case. This incident occurred as if in a
The presiding officers
along with static magistrate and armed police force did not act and remained
stunned large number of voters were standing in queue on both the polling
stations to cast their votes. Voters become furious as soon as the booth-looters
left the place. The voters felt that all the officials deputed for polling
were in collaboration with the booth-looters. People locked the officials
in a room and said that they would be free only on arrival of the higher
officials. This, however, was denied by villagers. But it is possible
that there might have been some minor clashes during this process. A constable
was injured. He was examined in a hospital and the doctor wrote 'ABRASION'
in bus report. On hearing about the capturing of booths, Shri Pramod Kumar
Varma a candidate for Mukhiya reached there around 2.30 pm. There was
information about capturing of other polling booths. He was obviously
agitated, as he was expecting majority vote on those polling booths. He
sat there on a chair and waited for the arrival of the higher authorities.
It may be mentioned here that Shri Pramod Kumar Varma is a former Mukhiya,
quite popular person to come from a respected family in the locality.
Shri Lakshman Bhagat, B.D.O. Kurhani (serving at the same place for the
last five years) has been biased against Shri Varma. Shri Varma did not
pay frequent visit to the B.D.O., as did other Mukhiyas.
This probably hurt
the ego of Shri Bhagat, who felt that Shri Varma thought it to be below
his dignity to meet the B.D.O. expressed his opinion in this regard before
the members of the team. Therefore it may be understood that the BDO did
not like that Shri Varma be re-collected. We were told that BDO persuaded
a number of persons to contest Shri Varma and assured them of all help.
Shri Sambhu Prasad Thakur was one such person. He said to us that he had
been persuaded; but that he politely declined the offer. We were told
that the BDO ultimately persuaded Shri Ram Chandra Bhagat, his caste man
and distant relative of local legislature, Shri Basawan to contest the
election. The BDO was quite active in course of election evening to ensure
that Shri Pramod Kumar is defeated. He. (BDO) used to say that ultimately
that candidate alone would be winner who would get the BDO's certificate.
The people somehow believed in this, which led them to think it was owing
to this that the polling officials including the patrolling magistrate
had without offering any resistance allowed the polling booths to be looted.
The S.D.O. Muzaffarpur West, Deputy S.P. Muzaffarpur, and Shri Ravikant
Tiwari, Zonal Magistrate with police force reached the spot at 3.30 pm.
Shri Tiwari in his FIR has mentioned that the mob of about 250-300 people,
equipped with weapons had surrounded the polling stations. According to
our sources about 50 to 100 persons in angry mood were present on the
booth; but that they were armed does not appear to be correct. The above-mentioned
officials were very much angry to have known that the polling officials
had been kept as captives. As they came, they broke loose on the persons
present there probably with a view to teaching them a lesson. People were
twice lathi charged. The locked door were opened and polling personnel
were set free. They got into the jeep. After that, Shri Pramod Kumar Varma
along with ten to fifteen persons were taken into custody, were beaten
and man-handled while being hauled in the vehicle.
The news about arrest
of and misbehavior with Shri Pramod Kumar Verma spread like wild fire
in the area. As the vehicles of the officials reached the Police Station
premises, a big crowd gathered in and around the Police Station. When
Shri Subodh Kumar Verma, an advocate and the younger brother of Promad
Kumar Verma went to meet the officials and to know about the developments,
he too was beaten and hauled into the standing truck. The crowd became
uncontrolled and furious. The S.D.O., Muzaffarpur West set free all the
detained persons including Shri Pramod Kumar Verma. The S.D.O. asked Shri
Pramod Kumar Verma to pacify the crowd. But, it was too late. It was crowd
of thousand to twelve hundred people which began to throw stones. There
is every possibility of anti-social elements mingling with the crowd.
Crackers were thrown. The team did not find any trace of bomb splinters.
Traces of stone throwing were found. The mirror hanging on the verandah
of Police Station was found broken in pieces. A Motor-cycle standing in
campus of the Police Station was found damaged. The glass panes of the
standing vehicles in the Police Station compound were found damaged.
(Shri Premshanker Singh, officer Incharge, Kurhani P.S. denied the possibility
of there being effective arms in the possession of the mob. He said that
some of them might be having country made revolvers).
Mob was growing aggressive. Lathi Charge was of no use. Tear-gas was not
available. It was necessary to control the mob. The officials ordered
effective firing. No effort was made to disperse the mob by firing in
the air. There were many on-lookers in the crowd. One of them Shri Amit
Jha, a student of B.A.-I(Commerce) and getting training in a Computer
Course, had come from Muzaffarpur on that day. He was going with his younger
brother to gudri (local market) to buy fish. He was standing there out
of curiosity. He was shot dead. His body fell on the right side of the
road. According to F.I.R. lodged by Shri Tiwari, zonal Magistrate Shri
Amit Jha was firing in front of police Station. A country made revolver
was found lying by his side. The revolver was loaded. Four used cartridges
(.315) were found on the road. It appears from F.I.R. that he was a dreaded
Criminal. But, the police officials denied that he had any criminal antecedents.
Another deceased person Shri Pramod Ram was father of four children. He
was working in Brick Chimney. He is not having any criminal antecedents.
He was standing near
Samrat Harwares on way to Gudri. According to records of the Hospital,
he was brought to hospital in serious condition. He along with Anuplal
Bhagat was referred to the Sadar Hospital, Muzaffarpur. He is recorded
as found dead in the police record. The two buses, requisitioned for election
were standing in the P.S. campus. But for them, many lives would have
been lost in the police firing. More than a dozen persons were injured
in firing. They got their treatment privately owing to fear of being implicated
in false cases. The team went to the house of Shri Pramod Ram. Five to
seven persons showed their bullet injuries. One of them has serious injury
in the wrist -- a bullet passed through the wrist. They did not go to
any registered doctor or hospital out of fear. There was reign of terror
for a few days. The allegation about the damage caused to wireless room
was false. The ASI (Munshi) told the team that seeing the aggressive mood
of mob on instruction from officials present he had closed the door of
wireless room inside. Messages were sent to headquarters and another concerned
person by wireless. No one entered in that room. He was never beaten by
the mob and he did not hear any sound of bomb or crackers.
We are constrained to mention with a sense of unhappiness that had the
officials who had gone to rescue the polling parties of Booth No. 268
and 269 used tact and moderation instead of force, the tragedy could have
- The root cause
of the incident was that ballot papers of Zila Parishad member was not
available on many booths, including 268-269
- Shri Lakshmanan
Bhagat, B.D.O., Kurhani had all along been holding prejudiced views
against Shri Pramod Kumar Varma former Mukhiya and candidate at the
current election. The B.D.O. openly stated that he would not let Varma
- That eight to
ten persons could loot the ballot papers etc and disrupt the polling
at booth Nos. 268-269 in the presence of the magistrate and the armed
force equipped with fire arms led the people assembled there to believe
that the polling parties too were in collaboration with the B.D.O.
- When the S.D.O.
Muzaffarpur (West), the Deputy S.P. and the B.D.O. along with armed
forces reached the polling booths no. 268 and 269, they instead of tackling
the situation with persuasion and tact, tried to resolve the matter
through use of force. In course of this Shri Pramod Kumar Varma, the
candidate for Mukhiya was humiliated and brought to the thana under
- When the Zeep
reached the thana Sri Verma, humiliated and manhandled in the same manner,
was made to alight from the jeep and pushed and hauled into the truck
along with other arrested persons. His younger brother, Shri Suboth
Kumar Verma, an advocate, who had come to the P.S. to make enquires
about his brother was likewise man-handled and pushed into the truck.
All this happened in the full view of the big assembly which was already
excited. The people felt concerned for the safety Shri Verma and all
this generated further anger and excitement.
- It was the result
of all this that the crowd began palling brick-bats and stone-metals.
There was however no evidence before the team to this effect that as
stated in the F.I.R. Sri Pramod Kumar Verma, was exciting the members
of the crowd to fire at the official party assembled at the Police Station.
In any case, the situation became alarming and order were given for
effective firing for controlling the situation. It is possible that
had firing in the air been resorted to, the crowd could have receded
and the regrettable deaths could have been avoided.
- The families of
the deceased persons as also the injured persons be adequately compensated.
- Guilty officials