FRIDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2013 00:05


Niyamat Ansari’s family is yet to breathe easy. It’s been nearly two years since the whistleblower was killed. His wife Nuroosha Bibi has got work in January this year but is yet to draw her first ‘salary’.

Worst of all, the frightened family has had to abandon its original village Jharua (Manika block) and settle in Latehar town.

On March 2, 2011, Ansari was dragged out of his house, brutally beaten up and murdered by local goons for exposing MGNREGA embezzlement.

Narrating her unending hardship to The Pioneer, Nuroosha Bibi said the family of eight have had to survive on pennies. “We would get some agricultural work on others’ farms and make ends meet. No one gave us land and we were left with some tand (less productive) land only. Nothing but maize grows there,” she says.

After Ansari’s murder, his parents’ old-age pension has proved too little to survive on, leave alone provide proper education to his three children and those of his sister —Saida Bibi, a widow.

Nuroosha has now been given a temporary job in a Government office at Latehar. “I am working in DRDA office on a daily basis since January 22. But they are yet to pay me. The bada babu (senior clerk) told me I would get Rs 195 a day. But that would be for working days only and not for Sundays or holidays. I don’t know how I will manage,” she says in a chocked voice.

The cold-blooded murder had created a furore at national and international levels in 2011. Activists such as Jean Dreze, Aruna Roy, Arundhati Roy and others had raised the matter on various platforms. As a result, a team headed by BK Sinha, the then Secretary in Union Rural Development Ministry, visited Kope gram panchayat and filed a detailed report. It admitted rampant corruption and the role of contractors in the rural job scheme.

Despite the attention it grabbed, Nuroosha Bibi was forced to abandon her husband’s house, succumbing to pressure, mostly from associates of forces behind Ansari’s killing. “I had some money from my marriage and also from Saida. By collecting savings, I somehow managed a house at Latehar, though it had no windows or stairs. But I did not want to live in the village. They used to laugh at me, threaten me and pass comments. I was feeling extremely frightened.”

Her sufferings have not ended. About two months ago, money and valuables were stolen from her house and there has been no police action.

The Government deposited Rs 3 lakh as fixed deposit in her name about seven months ago, but not before draining efforts. “The file was moving very slow. We approached officials in Delhi and in Ranchi. Finally, when we met Arjun Munda and Jairam Ramesh (Union Rural Development Minister), the process speeded up,” said Shayama Singh of NREGA Help Line, an NGO working to bring transparency in the scheme.

However, Ansari’s family is still awaiting Rs 1 lakh and a permanent job as compensation that was reportedly announced by former CM Arjun Munda and promised by then Deputy Commissioner Rahul Purwar. It will come only after the case finally concludes, a distant dream indeed.

Nuroosha Bibi is not sure about the fate of the case. “I have no knowledge of legal aspects as I am not very educated. They are in jail but for how long, I don’t know and also when the case is going to end,” she says.

Ansari’s case is just another grim instance on how it does not pay to blow the whistle.