Chilraon Massacre in East Champaran

Even as the celebrations of the formation of the Nitish-led NDA Government were not yet over, (or maybe as part of the celebrations?), feudal lords perpetrated a heinous massacre on December 12 in Chilraon village of East Champaran district, killing 5 Muslim peasants.

A CPI(ML) investigation team, comprising of State Committee Members Comrades Amar Yadav (MLA from Darauli, Siwan) and Virendra Gupta, Party leader from Siwan Comrade Javed Beg, and senior Party leaders from East Champaran Prabhudev Yadav and Rambachan Tiwari, visited Chilraon.

The investigation revealed that the feudal lord Subodh Sharma was patronised by both the BJP and the RJD. The massacre was well planned and perpetrated in collusion with the Administration. Anticipating the attack, villagers had given written information to the incharge of the Turkauliya PS at 6 am on the same morning, of December 12. The massacre took place in broad daylight at around 1.30 pm. Despite being alerted well in time, far form taking steps to prevent it, the police took 2 hours just to travel the five kilometres from the PS, and reach the spot after the massacre!

The incident is rooted in a land dispute. Chandergokhula Sharma a feudal lord from Macchadgaon, Kotva, fraudulently annexed land belonging to the ancestors of Mannan Dewan (injured) and others by converting a land mortgage (for a paltry sum) of 7 years to one of 60 years.

Later, he sold 72 bighas of land to his relative Kunj Bihari Sharma of Agarva Mohalla, Motihari. In 1991-92, Mannan Dewan and others filed a suit in Court. The CO and DCLR gave a verdict in favour of Mannan Dewan, terming attempts by Kunj Bihari Sharma’s son Subodh Sharma as illegal. Since then, the land has been has been occupied and regularly cultivated by Dewan and others. Subodh Sharma claims that the High Court and Supreme Court have given verdicts in his favour, but the villagers have no official information about such verdicts. Villagers told the investigation team that two days before the incident, on December 10, Subodh Sharma organised a meeting at the home of the pro-RJD Mukhia Vinda Rai (Village Chilraon) of Jaisinghpur East panchayat. It was most probably at this meeting that the massacre was planned. Subodh Sharma is patronised on the one hand by the local BJP MLA of Motihari, Pramod Kumar, as well as RJD MP Akhilesh Singh, who is himself a landlord of Arwal and a Ranveer Sena patron.

CPI(ML) observed a Statewide Bandh in Eastern Champaran on December 16, demanding suspension of the DM and SP of Motihari and dismissal of the Incharge of Turkauliya PS, compensation of 5 lakh each for the families of the deceased, Rs. 1 lakh to each of the injured, and immediate arrest of Subosh Sharma and the other culprits.

Such inhuman massacres and brutal oppression of the rural poor in Bihar is rooted in the non-implementation of land reforms, and persistence of stubborn feudal remnants patronised by various consecutive Governments including the self-proclaimed messiah of social justice, Laloo Yadav. Certainly, such forces are further emboldened by the first ever NDA Government in Bihar .