Bihar: Minor son of Slain RTI Activist Dies After Setting Himself Afire to Protest Police Inaction in Father's Killing
Patna: Deeply upset and frustrated over the failure of police to arrest powerful accused of the murder of an RTI activist, his minor son succumbed to injuries on Friday after he set himself afire in Bihar's East Champaran district.
Rohit Kumar, 14, son of an RTI activist Vipin Agrawal was deeply hurt on Thursday when he failed to meet East Champaran Superintendent of Police (SP) Kumar Ashish despite repeatedly trying for hours. Vipan Agrawal was shot dead in broad daylight in September 2021 near Harsiddhi for exposing several cases of land encroachment and corruption in local offices.
Rohit Kumar wanted to inform the SP that no arrest was made in connection with his father's killing, and powerful accused were roaming freely due to the inaction of police. Unhappy, Rohit Kumar returned home and expressed his hopelessness to the family members for not doing anything for justice in the case; he took an extreme step and set himself afire and jumped off from a nearby three-story building to protest the police inaction.
Rohit Kumar was seriously injured and rushed to a private hospital in Motihari district headquarter on Thursday night, but he died during treatment on Friday, March 25.
According to his neighbours, he shouted slogans against police before setting himself on fire and jumping.
His grandfather Vijay Agrawal said Rohit Kumar''s death exposed the real picture of the much-hyped rule of law in Bihar.
"My grandson went to meet the SP to seek police action against the accused in his father's killing, but the SP did not have time to meet him. This depressed him so much that he lost hope and tried to die by suicide by setting himself on fire and jumping from a building. He later succumbed to injuries," Vijay Agrawal, in his early 70s, said.
SP Ashish Kumar refuted that Rohit Kumar came to meet him on Thursday, saying he had no information about the latter's desire to meet him.
Rohit Kumar's mother, Monica Agrawal, said the government should explain why no arrest was made in her husband's murder.
"My son was unhappy, angry and depressed over it and died by suicide as the last measure; if police had arrested the accused, he would be alive today."
Vijay Agrawal recalled that his son Vipin Agrawal was an RTI activist since 2009 and was attacked in 2020, and his wife was dragged on the road. After that, he had sought police protection but it was not provided. It resulted in him being killed.
"My son was facing a threat to his life for exposing land encroachment cases by powerful people, including local politicians. The police are yet to arrest the main accused. It saddened my grandson, who felt helpless and ended his life".
He said Rohit Kumar observed a day-long fast on December 2021 to protest against the failure of police to arrest the accused in the case. In his handwritten petition to police, Rohit Kumar mentioned that there seems no hope of justice for his father, who was brutally murdered.
In October 2021, slain RTI activist's widow Monica Agrawal had slit her wrist in protest against the delay in arresting the murder accused.
"Police have been protecting some powerful accused in the case and denying justice to us," Vijay Agrawal said.
According to police in Motihari, 7 of 26 accused in the killing of RTI activist Vipin Agrawal have been arrested to date, and others will be arrested soon.
As per reports, more than 20 RTI activists were killed in Bihar in the last decade.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.