People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 25

June 19, 2011

CPI(M) Approaches NHRC on Bihar Firing


JUSTICE K G Balakrishnan, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, has assured necessary action in case of the blatant violation of human rights in Forbesganj (district Araria, Bihar) police firing on June 3. He gave this assurance to Brinda Karat and Hannan Mollah who met him on this issue on June 15, after receiving a memorandum was from the two CPI(M) leaders. He was shocked to hear of the barbarity of a policeman jumping on the dead body of Mustafa who had been killed in the police firing, and said the NHRC would look into the matter. The chairman also expressed concern about the lack of a just legal framework on the issue of land acquisition, adding that this was an urgent issue which should be addressed.


The memorandum submitted by Brinda Karat and Hannan Mollah to the NHRC follows.


This is to request your intervention to bring justice to the villagers of Bhajanpur and Rampur under Forbesganj block in Araria district of Bihar, and particularly to the families of the four people including a pregnant woman and an infant, killed in brutal police firing in this area, on June 3. Nine people were seriously injured. Unconfirmed reports are that two among them have succumbed to their injuries so that the number of those killed may be six not four.


The police firing was on a group of people protesting against the forcible acquisition of land by the government for a factory in the area. Of the 85 acres forcibly acquired by the government, the local BJP MLC, one Ashok Aggarwal, had leased 35 acres for his factory. It was to advance his interests that the police fired. He himself was present at the spot and the police took action on his commands. This is a shocking example of how powerful and unscrupulous leaders of the ruling combine utilise the state machinery for their own ends. The land was taken at a pittance from the villagers. Part of the land is reportedly being used by the people as a connecting road with the outside world. In both villages a large majority belong to the minority community.


On June 3, the villagers gathered in a protest at the factory gate. The police opened fire. Raheena Khatoon was returning, with her six months old baby in her arms, from the local hospital. The police fired on her. The bullet pierced her hand and hit her baby. He died a day later. She has been admitted in a hospital in Patna. Shazmina Khatun, five months pregnant, wife of a worker in the factory, had rushed to the area on hearing from other villagers of the firing. She was shot in the head and died on the spot. 18 years old Md Mustafa was crossing the area on his way to his small pan shop. He was shot dead by the police who fired at him from behind. Mukhtar Ansari, a worker, was also fired upon and killed in the savage police action. It is reported that in a signal act of barbarity the police jumped on the body of Mustafa. Can this be tolerated in any civilised society?


A fact finding team from the CPI(M) and the Kisan Sabha had visited the area on June 6. The team has confirmed the unwarranted and unprovoked nature of the police action at the behest of the ruling combine’s leaders in the area. No senior members of the administration have cared to visit the families. There is no dialogue with the villagers and worst of all no action has been taken to lodge FIRs against the guilty police personnel or the MLC, Ashok Aggarwal. An FIR under charges of murder must be registered against Aggarwal and the police involved, if the ends of justice are to be served.


It is for these reasons that the intervention of the NHRC is urgently required. We request you to take the appropriate measures. As a step of immediate relief we request you to ensure adequate compensation for the victims, all of whom belonged to very poor worker families.