Ahiyapur (Bihar): Clad in a lungi and vest, frail looking Anjani Bhusan is very disappointed as none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to fulfil the promises of providing a job to one of his family members and other benefits like education expenses. Bhushan’s elder son Rajesh Kumar was one of the six people killed in serial blasts during the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Hunkar rally in Patna in 2013.
The blasts had taken place in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan just before the then prime ministerial candidate of BJP and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was to address a rally. The families of all the six killed during the blasts are yet to get jobs as promised by Modi himself.
What has upset Anjani, standing near his khaprail (tiled roofed) house with brick walls layered with fresh cow dung, is that several BJP leaders including Union Ministers, MPs and state ministers have “forgotten them and are not ready to help them any more.”
“Despite the fact that BJP is in power at the Centre and in Bihar as well, the party’s leaders have no concern for the family members of those killed in blasts in their rally. They have been avoiding and neglecting us because we are demanding them to simply fulfill promises made to us,” says Anjani, a poor farmer and the only bread earner of the family of six in Ahiyapur Musahari village in Nalanda district.
As it has been over six years since the blast, the family members of six victims – Rajesh Kumar of Nalanda, Munna Srivastava of Gopalganj, Rajnarain Singh of Patna, Bindeshwar Chowdhury of Begusarai, Bharat Rajak of Supaul and Vikas Kumar of Kaimur, have lost all hope of getting any help from the BJP-led central government.
“I have visited Delhi several times and even met PM Modi to remind him about the promises to provide a job to a victim’s family member and fund for educational expenses of my three sons and one daughter. But till date nothing has happened. I had also met several BJP leaders and sought their help over the same. Even though initially they had assured us, later they adopted a different attitude,” he told NewsClick.
While the rest of Bihar is celebrating Chhath (most popular Hindu festival in Bihar), that began on Thursday, the festive mood is totally missing from Anjani’s house. His family has not been celebrating Diwali, which is followed by Chhath, in memory of Rajesh’s killing on October 27, 2013.
Anjani recalls that it was Modi who had promised a job to a family member when he visited the village soon after his son was killed in the blasts. He adds, “My elder son Rajesh was our hope of good days but he was killed in blasts. But the Modi government can easily provide a government job or a permanent job in private company as his party is ruling in over dozens of developed states across the country.”
Rajesh’s brother Santosh Kumar, who is pursuing B A, said, “We are fed up now after we tried our best by running from pillar to post in the last six years demanding them to fulfill the promises they made. We have approached everyone, from PM, Union Ministers including Giriraj Singh to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, all from BJP. We have also repeatedly submitted petitions to PMO and other offices. But nothing has come of it yet.”
He also said that his brother had completed ITI course and was looking for a job when he was killed. “Humlogon ne haar maan liya hai, wada bhula diya gaya hai (we have accepted defeat that they have forgotten the promises they made),” he finally said in a dejected voice.
Talking about the BJP leaders’ attitude, another brother, Akhilesh Kumar told NewsClick, “Before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi was to address a public rally in Mokama, which is over 60 kms away from this village. We tried our best to meet him then but were not allowed by the members of his party.”
Rajesh’s family is not alone. Munna Shrivastav’s brother Ranjan Shrivastav, a resident of Bari Dhanesh village in Gopalganj, said, “Neither did they provide a job nor any financial help for the education of my late brother’s minor daughter. I had met several top BJP leaders including Amit Shah but it proved useless as they ignored my request.”
Shankar Razak, son of another victim Bharat Razak, said, “After the PM himself promised to give me, I was sure to get a job. But I have been waiting for the past six years, I have lost all hope now.” He is now working as a labourer.
Similar pain and hopelessness are expressed by the family members of Bindeshwar Chowdhury and Vikas Kumar, both of them killed in the blasts. Vikas has left behind two minor children, but no help was given for their education said his widow Veena Devi.
The only help the victims’ families have received so far is a monetary compensation of Rs 5 lakh each, which is grossly inadequate of the loss they suffered.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] leader Manoj Kumar recalled that BJP had taken out a procession with the ashes of the six Patna blast victims, across six districts to play politics over it. The party had then termed it as shahid asthi yatra (martyrs' ashes procession). However, the right wing party’s attitude towards the family members of the victims has exposed the real face of BJP, he said.
Interestingly, Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) that used to raise questions on the unfulfilled promises made by Modi till 2016, is silent over it after his party joined hands with the BJP.
A senior JD-U leader and state minister Neeraj Kumar refused to comment when questioned over the desperate situation of the victims’ families even after six years. It should be noted that it was Neeraj Kumar who had attacked BJP in 2015 and 2016 for his failure to fulfil his promises. He had then termed Modi’s promises as another ‘jumla (hollow promise)’ like kala-dhan (black money).”
Few days after the serial blasts, Modi had visited the family of four of the six people killed and interacted with them at their native villages.