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ANHAD Report on the police firing in Forbesganj

By TCN News

The following report is based on interviews with victims, their families, group meetings with villagers, visit to the site of firing and the Forbesganj Industrial Area.

Background

Bhajanpur is a village situated in Forbesganj, Araria in Bihar. It is a 100% minority village.

In 1984 Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority acquired 105 acres of land. The compensation offered in 1988 was meager as compared to what the villagers should have been given.

It is important to note that over the years after the government acquired major chunk of the villager’s land majority of the villagers were forced to change their occupation from being small farmers to daily wagers.

A kuccha village road was built in 1962, in 1975 earth was put on it in 2006 bricks were laid on the road. This is the only road which connects the Bhajanpur village to the market, Idgah, hospital and Karbala.

 

 
For the past few years the villagers were using the NH 57 but after it was converted into a four-lane road and a flyover was constructed over it, the villagers stopped using it due to high traffic and accidents. Meanwhile, the land between the two villages (Bhajanpur and Rampur) including the road was given to a company Auro Sundaram International Company by Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority to set up Manufacturing Of Starches Form Maize. The Cabinet approved it on 24.6.2010 by Proposals Approved by State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB- http://gov.bih.nic.in/Documents/SIPB-Proposal-Status.pdf- page 29)

One of the directors of the Auro Sundaram International Company is Saurabh Agarwal, son of BJP MLC Ashok Agarwal

Two months ago the villagers went to the SDO and demanded that their road should not be disturbed as that was their only connectivity to the hospital, Idgah, Karbala and the market. Closing of this village road meant that an ordinary daily wager would be forced to walk an extra 5-7 kilometers to reach the market to find work.

A meeting was held on June 1, 2011, Wednesday between the company officials, administration and villagers including the village Mukhiya. The villagers even agreed on an alternate road on the south side of the factory wall and gave it in writing that they are ready to forego their right on the village road if this alternate road is provided.

 


Victim of Forbesganj firing
After this agreement next day on Thursday, June 2, 1011, the company in the presence of heavy police force, they dig the foundation of the wall to block the road, demolished the kalwat ( small bridge) and then built a concrete and brick wall blocking the road.

The Police Firing

The news of the company blocking the village road by building a brick wall spread like wildfire and on 3rd June 2011. The villagers felt betrayed and helpless, residents of Rampur and Bhajanpur villages under Forbesganj block in Araria district came out, after Juma Prayer, to protest against blockade of the connecting road between the two villages by the Auro Sundaram International Company. The villagers demolished the portion blocking the road and put on fire a jeep of the company.

The police opened fire on the protestors and chased them to their homes. According to many eye witnesses present on the scene the order to fire was given by the SP Garima Mallik. SDO, Ashok Agarwal, MLC, BJP, Saurabh Agarwal, Ashok Agarwal’s son and Managing Director of the Auro Sundram International Company were present on the scene when firing was ordered.

The fact finding team was informed by several villagers that on May 29, 2011 Sushil Modi, Deputy CM and BJP, MLA had come to Forbesganj and had pressurized the administration to take immediate action reagarding the village road and block it.

Ashok aggarwal was heard saying , “ inko pinjre main band kar denge. Jail banadenge salon ke gaon ko.”

Many eye witnesses told us that apart from the police, Ashok Agarwal himself fired at people. The police chasing the people entered the village and killed even women and infant point blank.

Five people including one woman and a six-month-old infant and an unborn baby were killed and 9 others injured.

Mohd Mustafa Ansari, s/o Tahirun Khatoon and Phatkan Ansari, 18 yrs was returning from paan shop. The police fired at him. He got 4 bullets, all in the upper part of the body. He was lying in an unconscious state in a field in the Forbesganj Industrial Area. Sunil Kumar Yadav jumped on him, his face, his body, kicking him hard with boots. Later he was sent for post mortem. The doctors who were to do the post mortem found him alive and tried to save him by giving oxygen but he succumbed to his injuries.

 


Bullet marks on window of a house in Bhajanpur village in Forbesganj
Mohd Mukhtar Ansari, s/o Amina Khatoon and Farukh Ansari got 4 bullets, three in his head and one on his thigh.

Shazmin Khatoon, w/o Farukh Ansari, 27 yrs was coming back from the doctor. She was 6 months pregnant. She got 6 bullets, four bullets were in the head. Her brain came out. Her skull was broken with rifle butts while she lay on the ground. Shazmin has left behind her 3 small children.

Naushad Ansari, s/o Tahine Khatoon and Siddiq Ansari – 7 months- Naushad Ansari was in his other’s lap as she was returning from the market. He received two bullets in his back and mother hot a bullet in her hand. Naushad died.

Those who were injured include- Taheena Khatoon, w/o Siddiq Ansari 27 yrs, Raees Ansari, s/o Shamsul Ansari, 25 yrs ( shot at home), Manzoor s/o Maulvi Ali Rasool, 8 yrs, Ikram, s/o Domi, 26yrs, Talimum Ansari, s/o Zaheer Ansari, 12yrs, Abadul Haque, s/o Abdul Lateef, 40yrs, Salamat Ansari, s/o Hasir Ansari, 15yrs, Juaish, s/o Azeem Ansari, 10 yrs, Mujahid Ansari, s/o Shamsul Ansari, 22yrs.

The following Vision and Duties copied from the official website clearly show that all police officers involved in the police firing have not only not fulfilled their constitutional duties but have violated and acted against the responsibility given to them and are hence liable for strict action against them.

Araria Police: Vision and Duties

Vision Statement on Araria’s police official Website (http://arariapolice.bih.nic.in/):

Araria District Police is working with a mission to uphold the law , to maintain peace and public order , to control criminal activities , to ensure no one disrupts the sovereignty and integrity of the country , to help the civil administration to carry out developmental activities without fear , to discharge duties without fear or favor , to hold aloft the noblest traditions of wearing the uniform , to grow, adapt and change with the requirements and to religiously follow the path laid down by the Constitution of India and taking pride in service of the nation so that each one associated with us feels proud of us.

 


Victim of Forbesganj firing
Demands

1. Immediate dismissal of SP, SDO and all other senior police, administrative officers present on the spot at the time firing was ordered.

2. Immediate arrest of Ashok Agarwal for firing at people. Enquiry into his role in the whole incident, the built up and firing.

3. Investigate role of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi in the whole incident.

4. Immediate compensation of 10 lakhs to the families of those killed and one lakh to the injured.

5. Treatment of all injured at govt expense.

6. Govt jobs to one person from each family of those killed.
7. Road to the village on Govt land.

8. An apology from Chief Minister to the villagers of Bhajanpura for letting his political partners and police act in the most communal and oppressive manner in killing innocents.

9. An apology from Bihar state for not implementing the Prime Ministers 15 point programme and the special MsDP in Araria district and instead of empowering minorities as per the recommendations of the Sachar Committee report, disempowering them by conniving with the BJP and the industrialists to usurp poor people’s only asset the land.

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