The family members of victims of police firing at Forbesganj of
Arariya district, 400 km away from capital, cried for justice at a
press conference held at SCARDA Press Hall by eminent social
activists and film maker Mahesh Bhatt.
Two minutes visual of victims was run while commencing the press
conference, which was signature evidence of police brutality. An
emotional visual showed how a Home Guard Jawan, Sunil Kr Yadav,
was jumping over unconscious Md Mustafa Ansari’s body, a victim
who later died.
The footage of dead bodies of other
victims like Md Mukhtar Ansari, Shazmin Khatoon, and 7 yrs old
Naushad Ansari was also shown.
Few of the injured persons were also present during conference,
Taheena Khatoon (27), Raees Ansari (25), Manzoor, Ikram (8),
Talimum Ansari(12), Abadul Haque (40), Salamat Ansari(15) Juaish
(10) and Mujahid Ansari (22) were among the victims.
Talking to the families of victims and villagers, Feroz, 38 and Md
Mustaq 36, who were also eye witnesses, recounted the horrible
tale. They said it was the scene likely to happen at border
"On 2nd June, 2011, we reached an agreement in which
company owner was suppose to provide an alternative passageway
before blocking our age old path", says Md Mustaq.
He further added, "In the very
night, a concrete wall was erected, and it created ripple among
villagers. We all villagers brought down the wall around 3 pm on
following day. Few villagers set ablaze a company jeep".
When asked was the Police mute spectator during these entire
wildernesses? Feroz answers, "We villagers were returning after
conducting Friday prayers. At that time we decided to bring down
the concrete wall. The number of policemen present was less than a
dozen at that point of time. After getting reinforcement of seven
jeeps, police started acting. Initially; they fired in air, later,
Police and protesting villagers confronted each other. Villagers
were prepared to challenge administration against forcible land
acquisition. This acquisition, also, violates the 2nd June
agreement done between villagers and company.
Jamshed, another villager, a teacher
at Govt School, said, "Police could avoid such unfortunate
incident. Instead, they responded iron handedly".
alleged that their lands were acquired in 1987, and were
inadequately compensated. In 1984, Bihar Industrial Area
Development Authority (BIADA) acquired 105 acres of land. The
compensation offered in 1988 was meager, reports claim.
Meanwhile, land which lies between the two villages Bhajanpur and
Rampur, including the road was given to a company Auro Sundaram
International Company by BIADA to set up manufacturing of starch
from Maize. One of the directors of the company was Saurabh
agarwal, son of the BJP MLC Ashok Agarwal.
Garima Mallick, Superintendent of Police, Arariya, speaking over
phone, reiterated her earlier statement that police acted after
crowd went on rampage and made firing over police. "There were
firings from angry mob that led us to counter them with guns", she
Film Maker, Mahesh Bhatt avoided to take dig at Nitish Kumar.
Bhatt said "He will meet CM Nitish Kumar and convey him the police
excesses. If he doesn’t act then I will criticize him publicly."
Shabnam Hashmi, Delhi based human rights activist, viewed this
incident through the angle of communalism. Arshad Ajmal, Patna
based social activist was also present.
CM Nitish Kumar had already ordered for judicial enquiry of this
firing and had apparently silenced the opposition clamoring for
the same. There were no compensation announced yet to the victims
and their families.