13 June 2011, Bihar Bhawan, New Delhi
Shri Devanand Konwar,
Governor of Bihar
Through the Resident Commissioner
Bihar Bhawan, New Delhi
It is with immense grief and anger that we write to you today bringing to your notice an incident of hideous brutality unleashed by the personnel of Bihar Police on poor villagers of Forbesganj block in Araria district. On 3rdJune, when the villagers were protesting the blockade of a road that connects the village to the idgah, karbala and market by a private company, Auro Sundaram, owned by the son of the local BJP councilor, Ashok Agaarwal, they were fired upon by the police at the orders of SP, Garima Malik. It has been reported that in addition to the SDO, the local councilor was also present and not only did he instigate the police, but also personally fired upon them. The protesters were chased into their homes and killed. Six people, including a woman and an infant lost their lives. A gruesome video recording of the policemen jumping and trampling upon the faces and bodies of injured, half dead young men has exposed the depths to which the state machinery has fallen in the name of upholding ‘law and order’, and the reality of ‘good governance’, where the poor and minorities continue to remain vulnerable.
Though the government has announced a judicial probe into the incident, this can only be seen as a half-hearted measure taken under pressure of mounting criticism given that it has still not bothered to name the person who will head it; the ex-gratia compensation of Rs Three lakhs, and that too to only one victim is a mockery of this horrific tragedy and injustice. We therefore demand from the government of Bihar that:
- Time-boundjudicial probe under a sitting High Court Judge.
- Immediate dismissal of SP, SDO and all other senior police, administrative officers present on the spot at the time firing was ordered.
- A thorough enquiryinto the role of the BJP councilor Ashok Agarwal for firing at people.
- Compensation of 10 lakhsto the families of those killed and Govt jobs to one person from each family of those killed.
- Compensation of Rs One lakhto the injured and treatment of all injured at government expense.
- Immediate lifting of the blockadeon the road to facilitate the free movement of villagers.
- An apology from the Chief Ministerand the Government of Bihar for this incident.
Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD
Manisha Sethi, Convener, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association
Ravi Rai, General Secretary, All India Students Association
Madhuresh Kumar, National Organiser, National Alliance of People’s Movements
Sandeep Samwad, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta
Seela Manswinee, Delhi Solidarity Group
Contact : Mahtab Alam 9811209345