Special Feature

Fact Finding team's Report

Darbhanga Firing on Flood Victims

A CPI(ML) investigation team went to Darbhanga on 17 August to enquire into an incident of police firing the previous day on people protesting against scams in flood relief distribution at Manigacchi village in Darbhanga. The team was led by Leader of the CPIML) Legislative Party and PB Member Comrade Ramnaresh Ram.

Manigacchi is part of the Ujan Panchayat, which has a population of about 30,000. The team found that when the first lot of relief supplies (polythene, candles, matches, grains) reached, no one got any of it because a member of the Ujan Panchayat, RJD leader Ramsharan Lal, along with RJD strongmen Pushkar Jha, Mohd. Ashfaq and others, had appropriated all of it.

When supplies were air-dropped by helicopter, too, only those villages which were RJD-strongholds were chosen. The Ward Officer had allocated 384 quintals of wheat and Rs.200 per family in this Panchayat. The Panchayat Samiti and Ward Members had objected to bringing these supplies to the village, saying instead that it should be kept in the Block Office and distributed from there. But the mukhiya and his supporters got the wheat and money transported straight to their homes; it never even reached a Panchayat Bhavan or school. When a week passed and no relief reached the village, people were furious, realising that once again all the supplies had been swallowed up by local RJD leaders.

On 16 August, a dharna was started at 6 am , which quickly swelled to include 5000 hungry, flood affected people. People told the CPI(ML) team that, that evening at 4 pm the Ward Officer arrived with the Incharge of Manigacchi, Sakatpur and Behra thanas, as well as a large contingent of Police, and went straight to the home of Pushkar Jha.

At 5 pm the mukhiya's henchmen attacked the Ward Officer, and at the same time, the Incharge of three Thanas rushed to the dharna spot, firing indiscriminately.

14 year-old Bablu Kamti, who was playing cricket nearby, fell as he tried to run away from the commotion. The Manigacchi Thana Incharge lifted him and shot him pointblank near the ear. He died on the spot.

Half a kilometre away, Shyamsundar Kamti (aged 24) had come to the Post Office to phone Bombay , and the same Thana Incharge shot him dead. Nearly a dozen people were injured in the Police firing, of whom Ghuran Kamti's condition is most serious.

People told the investigating team that the Thana Incharges and Police threw an Education Officer from his jeep and vandalised his motorcycle. The team met him in Darbhanga Medical Hospital , where he was being treated, and he confirmed that it was common people who saved him from the police.

The mukhiya and the 3 RJD strongmen are absconding. The Police has tried to hush up the matter by forcing the family members of the dead and injured to sign on blank paper. And people are yet to see any flood relief.

Spontaneous Popular Protest Against Police Firing in Samstipur

In Samstipur, criminals get away murdering kids, while the police kill the father! On 13 August, notorious criminals Rakesh Singh, Awadhesh Sharma and Bharat Thakur killed an 18 year old boy in broad daylight and fatally injured another. When the police failed to take any action despite the criminals being well identified, CPI(ML) declared a Samastipur Bandh on 17 August. The Bandh was successful. The Reserved Adhikshak called ML leaders to the Thana for talks, and threatened to arrest and jail them under the ‘Goonda Act'. When the ML leaders were detained for more than 24 hours, they went on a hunger fast, where they were joined by thousands of bandh supporters from the town and even nearby villages.

The next morning, the body of a 7 year-old boy, Amar, who had been abducted for a ransom a week back, was found in a garden. People's fury erupted at the police which had failed to recover the child alive, and they arrived at the Thana , shouting slogans against the nexus of police with criminals.

Police tried to suppress the crowd's angry protest by firing at them, and the Thana Incharge shot at Amar's father Sawailal Mahto with his service revolver, and police bullets wounded a villager, Mithilesh Rai. Both were badly injured and Mahto later died.

In protest, thousands of people have embarked on a serial fast in Samastipur town, roads and trains remained jammed for long, and people are responding enthusiastically to CPI(ML)'s call for a Bihar Bandh on 23 August.