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Fact Finding Team Alleges Runni Saidpur Attack was Planned, Demand BDO’s Arrest

The team has also demanded a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh for Sahni, who succumbed to her injuries after being attacked by petrol bombs by the land mafia.
Runni Saidpur Attack

Image Coutesy: Jagran

Patna: On Tuesday, January 29, a joint left parties’ fact-finding team in Bihar demanded a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh for Bindu Sahni, who succumbed to her injuries after being attacked with petrol bombs by the land mafia in Runni Saidpur in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district. She was on indefinite hunger strike demanding legal documents for the land she and others are residing on.

 Following their visit to Runni Saidpur, three members of the joint fact-finding team consisting of Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Lalan Choudhary, Communist Party of India leader and former MLA Ramnaresh Pandey and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) MLA Mahboob Alam held a press conference in Patna. They said that the attack on protesters on January 16, in which Binda Sahni and Anaro Devi were seriously injured, was part of a well-designed act of the land mafia with support from the local block administration official.

Also Read: Landless Farmers on Hunger Strike Attacked With Petrol Bomb in Bihar

 “The state government should immediately announce a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to the family of Bindu as well as for the seriously injured Anaro Devi. We also demand the arrest of all the accused in the attack case,” Mahboob Alam said.

Lalan Choudhary, member of state CPI (M) executive committee, said, “The government must provide legal documents to the 316 landless families who have been living on 10.7 acres of land. These families mostly earn their livelihood through agricultural labour, and the population consists of several dalit families.”

He added, “Block Development Officer of Runni Saidpur has been named as an accused in the case no. 27/19 in the police station of Runni Saidpur. But the local administration is trying to save him.”

Pandey said that the protesters were framed in false cases by the local administration to protect the land mafia and BDO of Runni Saidpur.

These 316 landless families have been living in small huts on 10.7 acres out of 17 acres of surplus land in the area since 2003. Led by local activist Devendra Jadav, they have been constantly fighting for legal ownership of the land ever since, with the support of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU). After a long battle under the leadership of Jadav, the block Circle Office (CO) finally inspected the land, and it was decided that the families will receive ownership papers. However, after this decision was taken, the CO went on a long leave due to health problems, and the responsibility was shifted to the Block Development Officer (BDO), Saroj Baitha.

BDO’s Role

After this transfer of responsibility, on January 10, the BDO visited the area accompanied by 100 policemen. Allegedly, they were also accompanied by the local land mafia. The BDO said that he will conduct the inspection again, and then will take a decision regarding the ownership papers. The people protested against this, and during the visit, several local women were hurt.

According to the joint fact-finding team, 51 people from these families had been on an indefinite hunger strike since January 11, demanding legal documents for the land they are residing on. Even after six days of the hunger strike, there was no response from the administration.

Demanding strict action against all the accused, Pandey said, “It has exposed the nexus of land mafia with local administration in Bihar again.”

Read More: Mahadalits’ Houses Set on Fire Amidst Ongoing Anti-encroachment Drive

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