Patna: The daughters of a Muslim woman, who was allegedly lynched by a mob in their village in Bihar, have demanded justice and a judicial inquiry monitored by the Patna High Court, accusing the police of inaction following its failure to arrest all the accused in the case.
More than three weeks after 35-year-old Sunawwar Khatoon, a teacher in a government-run school, was mercilessly beaten to death by a mob in broad daylight in the village of Adharpur in Samastipur district, neither have all the accused been arrested nor has her family been compensated for loss of property after the mob set fire to their belongings. The three daughters of the woman continue to live in fear after they witnessed the barbaric incident last month. The siblings have questioned the 'rule of law' (kanoon ka raj) in Bihar, something CM Nitish Kumar does not refrain from praising.
“Where is the rule of law? Our mother was lynched by a mob in presence of the police force in the village, but so far no police action has been taken against the named accused in the case,” the victim's daughters said.
According to the local police in Samastipur, Khatoon was beaten to death by a mob after her husband Hasnain Khan, the deputy head of the village panchayat, shot dead his neighbour, 30-year-old Shrawan Kumar Rai, over a petty dispute. Both Khan and Rai were once partners in a property business but are said to have developed differences latter.
Angry over the killing, a mob attacked Khan’s house, first thrashing the male members followed by the women when they resisted them. "Hundreds of people shouting for a revenge killing surrounded our house; they forcibly entered it, abused and misbehaved with our mother. After that they drove her out of the house, tore her clothes and started beating her despite the repeated requests she made with folded hands, saying that she was innocent. The mob beat her till she died near Shrawan’s house. They also lynched our cousin Md. Anwar at the same place,” alleged Nusrat Paerween, one of the victim's daughters.
Nusrat, who is still haunted by the incident, questioned the CM Nitish Kumar's claims of the rule of law in Bihar. She She also expressed her dismay over the silence of Bihar's leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav in the matter.
She added that after her mother and cousin were lynched, a mob set fire to their house, vehicles and their shop, all of which were badly burnt.The mob also allegedly looted valuables, including cash, jewellery and other items.
An FIR was lodged in the case but the police has failed to arrest the accused and is yet to take action against them.
Congress MLA Shakeel Ahmad Khan, who had visited Adharpur early in July and met the family, said the incident was the manifestation of a "well-designed" ploy to spread "terror" by the RSS and BJP. "The police has failed in its duty to protect the family and take action against accused. During my visit the Samastipur Superintendent of police had assured me that all 11 named accused would be arrested soon. I have demanded that the government provides adequate compensation to the family for the loss of properties and a government job to one of the daughters of the lynched teacher," he said.
All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) leaders Mina Tiwari and Sashi Yadav held a press conference here on Tuesday with the three daughters of victim and demanded justice in the case. "It is shocking that the main accused is yet to be arrested by police.The three daughters of the victim are living in fear, but the government has not shown its seriousness in taking action," said Tiwari.
Yadav demanded that the names of all those who were part of the mob and instigated violence should be included in the FIR. "The local police station officer in-charge, who allowed a mob to attack and lynch two people, should be dismissed from service by the government,” she said..
CPI (M) leader Manoj Kumar said that after the lynching incident the local VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders tried to give it a communal colour and spread tensions. However, they failed in their attempt, he added.