Bathani Tola Massacre
WE shall not rest until we see the DM and SP of Bhojpur punished for their complicity in the massacre. This was the spirit which has triggered off many programmes of protest. Com. Rameshwar Prasad, General Secretary of BPKS and CPI(ML) MLA went on an indefinite hunger strike at Nawada Chowk. He was accompanied by Md.Yunus, mukhia of Barki Kharaon village and Com.Anwar, Secretary of the Bihar State Committee of Inquilabi Muslim Conference. On the third day of his fast, Com.Prasad was arrested and now he is continuing his fast from Buxar Central Jail and on 20 August he was on his sixteenth day on fast.
At Arrah, police resorted to brute force to break up the peaceful dharna and hunger strike. After one leader is taken to the prison another would take his place. Day after day, the police forces would disrupt the meetings and then send a commando force to arrest the hunger striker and a few demonstrators in the ensuing commotion. Even women and children were arrested in these routine attacks. Com. Satyadev Ram, our MLA from Mairwan was also arrested in this process and shifted to a Patna jail where he continued with his fast. During these dharnas and hunger strikes over 300 people have been arrested. These struggles had an impact even inside the jails where dharnas and relay fasts were undertaken.
On August 14, a day-long fast and dharna was observed at various places all over Bihar in which thousands of people participated. Comrades inside Buxar, Ara and Patna Jails also observed a dharna and a day-long fast.
On August 15, our struggles got a new strength when the frail veteran leader Com.Taki Rahim went on an indefinite fast. On the same day, various artists and writers from Bihar and outside Bihar boycotted the award ceremony organised by the Bihar government to give awards to these artists.
After some time, some changes were also brought into the movement. With a view to centralise the mass mobilisations and propaganda campaigns in the rural areas, on August 15, while addressing the mass gathering at the dharna site, Com.Ram Naresh Ram declared the postponement of the relay fasts and the dharnas. Com.Yunus, Com.Anwar and Com.Satyadev Ram were also requested to break their fast.
On August 16, Com.Vinod Mishra visited Buxar Jail and met Com.Rameshwar Prasad. On the
same day, he also met Com.Taki Rahim who was sitting at Hartali Chowk in Patna. On the
night of August 19, Com.Taki Rahim along with 18 others were also arrested by the police.
During all this, three meetings were organised in which various left, democratic and socialist parties and intellectuals participated. On August 8, they showed their solidarity by staging a dharna at Station Golambar and on August 13 they in a release condemned all the criticisms that had arisen in certain sections against the fast undertaken by Com.Rameshwar Prasad. Other organisations and parties that participated are CPI(ML) Nayi Pahal, CPI(ML) Janshakti, CPI(ML) Organisational Committee, CPI(ML) Janpratirodh, Jan Sanwad, Lok Sangram Morcha, Sarvahara Chetna Kendra, RSP, FB, SUCI, Marxist Coordination Committee, Chaatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini, Janmukti Sangharsh Vahini, Sampoorna Kranti Sangathan and others. Among other intellectuals who participated were social scientist Shashi Bhushan, Vidyanand Sahay, Tarkeshwar Ojha and Dr.VD Prasad. Representatives from CPI, CPM and MCPI were not present. A solidarity convention of prominent intellectuals was held on August 22 in Delhi.(Report later)