Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Twitter
Patna: Even as the whole country continues to battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, crime continues unabated in Bihar. Fear of lawlessness, locally known as ‘jungle raj’, is haunting the common people in Bihar again, as the state reels under a growing crime rate. As many as 10 killings were reported in the last 24 hours in the state, according to the police.
In the latest incident, two dalit youths were beaten to death in a village in Patna district on late Friday night (May 29). The killings triggered protest by residents of the area on Saturday, who demanded arrest of criminals behind and compensation to the poverty-stricken families of the two killed.
Golu Manjhi,19, and Solger Manjhi,18, were residents of Ramnagri Musahri under Ghoshwari police station. Their heads and faces were smashed with bricks after they were allegedly beaten to death. Both belonged to the Musahar dalit community, one of the most marginalised communities in the country.
”Prima facie it appears that both were beaten to death by bamboo, iron rods and bricks,” Ghoshwari Police Station’s officer in charge Sanjeev Mauar said.
But the police officer said the exact reason for their killing was not known. “Police have recovered bodies and sent them for postmortem. It has not yet been ascertained who were involved in their killing,” he added.
Meanwhile, angry over their killing, hundreds of Musahars gheraod the police station, and staged a protest, shouting slogans against the government.
According to the police, victims used to work as a daily wage labourers before the lockdown began in March, which left them without a livelihood.
This landless dalits community, derogatorily referred to as ‘rat eaters’ by the upper castes, are still considered untouchable. Their socio-economic status has not changed much in recent years. Most of them are landless and work as farm labourers. Literacy remains a distant dream for majority of the members of this impoverished community in Bihar.
This is not an isolated incident. In Kaimur district, father and son duo Vansi Prasad Chandrawansi and Lalan Prasad Chandrawansi were allegedly killed with a sharp weapon on Friday while in another incident, a home guard jawan Rajvardhan Ranjan was killed in Begusarai district when criminals opened fire at a police vehicle. In Madhepura district, a former Sarpanch Munna Yadav was killed and there are reports of one each killing in Lakhisarai, Madhepura and Begusarai.
These series of incidents have again exposed the serious lack of law and order in the state. This is not the first time that such killings have been reported in the last one year. Killings numbering upto half a dozen to nearly one dozen within 24 hours have been reported several times in the last few months.
Last Sunday, RJD leader J P Choudhary’s three family members including his father Mahesh Choudhary,70, his mother Sanketia Devi, 65, and his younger brother Shantanu Choudhary were killed in Gopalganj district. Choudhary was himself seriously injured when bullets hit him. He is undergoing treatment in the government run Patna Medical College and Hospital after shifting from Gopalganj.
Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, along with his mother and former chief Minister Rabri Devi and party MLAs, leaders and workers staged a protest on Friday against this killing while trying to march to Gopalganj by road but police stopped him and did not allow him to move ahead. After that Tejashwi met Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary and sought a special session of the House to discuss law and order, which was turned down by the Speaker.
On Saturday, an FIR was lodged against 72 RJD leaders including Tejashwi and Rabri Devi for violating lockdown during their protest on Friday. Tejashwi had attacked Nitish Kumar and termed these incidents of crime as an example of real jungle raj (unruly governance). "Nitish Kumar if you think that by lodging false case against me and my party leaders, you can scare us, you are living in a big illusion," he had said.