Struggle Against Disbanding of Amir Das Commission Continues

Outrage continues to spill out against the Nitish Government's move to protect the prominent politicians linked to the Ranveer Sena by disbanding the Justice Amir Das Commission probing political linkages of the Sena. On May 1, leaders of the CPI(ML) and CPI, including CPI(ML) State Secretary Ramjatan Sharma, AIALA Vice President Pawan Sharma, CPI Central Committee member Jalaluddin Ansari, Shatrughna Prasad Singh and Ram Naresh Pandey, MLA, met the CM Nitish Kumar and demanded that the Amir Das Commission be reinstated and allowed to complete its probe.

On May 8, the districts which bore the brunt of and resisted the worst terror of the Ranveer Sena - four central Bihar districts of Jahanabad, Arwal, Gaya and Bhojpur, as well as Goh block of Paliganj and Paliganj block of Patna district - witnessed a protest bandh called by the CPI(ML). The bandh demanded resinstatement of the Amir Das Commission and also demanded dismissal of Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi from the Ministry, since he was among those accused of links with the Sena. Party activists and supporters blocked many highways and rail tracks while many markets in towns remained closed on the day. Processions were taken out at different places. Party supporters in large numbers enforced bandh and blockaded roads in Jahanabad and other places while police and administration desperately tried to foil the bandh by using force on peaceful protesters at many places. A bandh was also observed in Nawada and a road blockade and procession was held in support of the bandh in Darbhanga.

Earlier, CPI(ML) has conducted a 48-hour fast in Patna and protests in all the block and district headquarters in support of these demands. A convention was held in Patna on May 3, and a demonstration was also held in Patna on May 5

Citizens' Petition to the President of India

Many prominent citizens, intellectuals, professionals and activists have signed a petition requesting the President of India 's immediate intervention in the matter of disbanding Amir Das Commission. They have urged the President to ensure that this decision of Bihar Govt. is reversed and the Commission granted the necessary time and facilities to finish its job of identifying the patrons of the massacres. The petition was signed by Arundhati Roy, Jean Dreze, Anil Sadgopal, John Dayal, Anand Patwardhan, and many others. The petition reads as follows:

"We are shocked at the Bihar government's decision to abandon the Amir Das Commission, which has been probing the political links of the Ranvir Sena. That the Commission has been disbanded at a time when the Commission was nearing completion of its report makes it highly suspect.

It may be recalled that the Amir Das Commission was set up in the wake of the brutal December 1997 massacre of more than 60 men, women and children belonging to socially and economically oppressed groups of Laxmanpur-Bathe, Jehanabad by the killers of the Ranvir Sena. Late President KR Narayanan, had called this massacre a national shame and in the face of countrywide protests and international condemnation, the government of Bihar had been forced to set up this Commission to identify the political forces patronising the killers of the dalit and rural poor of Bihar . The upper-caste landlord army of the Ranveer Sena killed 282 labouring poor between 1995 and 2000 in Jehanabad, Patna , Gaya , Rohtas, Bhojpur, Aurangabad and Nawada. In the past, the Commission had repeatedly complained of non-cooperation by the government and the accused political leaders, many of them from the BJP.

The current Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar has even gone on record describing the very formation of the Commission as flawed. ... By abandoning the Commission just before completion and submission of its report, the Bihar government has exposed its desperation to shield the accused many of whom are important leaders of the present ruling combine including ministers and MLAs.

The government is thus also conveying to the oppressed poor in the State that far from ensuring justice, it is working towards shielding the political and social forces who have presided over the massacre. The undemocratic approach and the intent of the State govt. can be gauged from the fact that the announcement to disband the Commission came just after the Assembly Session was concluded!

The security of the poor is threatened by this act. We hence request your immediate intervention in this matter and urge you to ensure that the decision to abandon the Amir Das Commission is reversed and the Commission granted the necessary time and facilities to finish its job of identifying the patrons of the massacres."

Hall of Shame: Ministers named in Amir Das Panel report

Sushil Kumar Modi : Senior BJP leader has been charged with having a nexus with the Ranvir Sena and seeking help from the outfit during elections.

Murli Manohar Joshi : Another BJP bigwig, charged with threatening the officer-in-charge of Paliganj Police station against taking action in the Haibaspur massacre.

C P Thakur : BJP leader named for attending Sena in 1997 ahead of the Haibaspur massacre and a close aide of Ranveer Sena's supremo Brahmeshwar Mukhia.

Akhilesh Singh : Union Minister of State from RJD, has been charged with seeking help from the banned outfit during elections and funding Sena's activities.

Kanti Singh : Minister of State, has been charged with seeking help from Sunil Pandey, a prominent Sena leader, during 1996 Parliamentary elections.

Other names in the list: RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari, former president of the Bihar Congress Committee Ram Jatan Sinha, a minister with the Nitish government Nand Kishore Yadav, ex-MP JD(U) Arun Kumar, formerRJD minister, Mundrika Singh Yadav, Former president of Samta Party, Raghunath Jha, Nitish Kumar loyalist and JD(U) MLA Krishna Sardar, former MLA Akhlaque Ahmed, former MLA Jagdish Sharma, former MPs, late Chandradev Prasad Verma and late Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav.