By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
Patna: Even four days after the barbaric police firing on Muslim protestors in Forbesganj area of Araria district, the state government has not touched even a single officer of police or civil administration. Muslim community leaders today strongly condemned the killings and demanded immediate suspension and arrest of the responsible officers and initiation of criminal proceeding against them.
“The police action is very shameful and highly condemnable. Police has no right to open fire in first stage if they go to solve a problem. All police personnel involved should be immediately arrested and suspended, and criminal proceedings should be initiated against them,” demanded Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, Secretary, Imarat Shariah, Bihar, Jharkhand & Orissa.
“The protestors could have been dispersed by tear gas or lathi charge. But it seems it was a well chalked out plan. That’s why the police opened fire in the first stage. It is very shameful and barbaric. Those behind the killings must be brought to book to stop the recurrence of such incidents,” demanded Husn Ahmed Quadri, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Wasi Ahmed Shamshi, Convenor, All India Milli Council, Bihar said: “It should be probe as to why police opened fire and on whose direction. The guilty must be brought to natural justice so that such incidents could be checked.”
Maulan Qasmi, who is also chairman, Haj Committee of Bihar, applauded the judicial probe order of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, but again stressed on the arrest of guilty officers first. “The judicial probe order is good. Judicial probe should be done in this case. But before that, all those involved in the killing of the protestors should be arrested and suspended and a case should be filed against them,” the Maulana said. He also demanded the government proper compensation to the victims and a government job to one member of each of the affected families, because “Judicial probe will take time, so these relief measures should be adopted first.”
On incident of two police firings in the span of six months on Muslim protestors in the same district, Maulana Qasmi said: “This shows that the government did not take strong action in the first police firing. Such incidents have been reported from the region. Last year a similar incident took place in Kishanganj. So this requires the government to take strong action to stop recurrence of such incidents. The erring officers must be suspended and arrested and put to judicial process.”
Excerpts from the interview on the issue with three Muslim community leaders:
What is your first reaction to the police firing in Forbesganj in Araria on 3rd June 2011?
Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi: The police action is very shameful and highly condemnable. Police has no right to open fire in first stage if they go to solve a problem. Rather, if police are not able to solve a matter peacefully, then they can arrest people, or lathicharge them or use tear gas shells. But none of these measures were used in Araria case and the police opened fire in the very first stage. My view is all police personnel involved should be immediately arrested and suspended, and criminal proceedings should be initiated against them.
Husn Ahmed Quadri: There was an old road leading to an Imambara in the area. This was a public road for hundreds of years. But we have heard that BJP MLC Ashok Kumar Agarwal has set up a company there. The company has taken the road in its premises, leading to the problems of the people. So the people were peacefully protesting against the blockade of the road. The protestors could have been dispersed by tear gas or lathi charge. But it seems it was a well chalked out plan. That’s why the police opened fire in the first stage. It is very shameful and barbaric. Those behind the killings must be brought to book to stop the recurrence of such incidents.
Wasi Ahmed Shamshi: This was inhuman and barbaric that they opened fire on unarmed civilians, rather than using tear gas shells and lathi charge. If they were forced to open fire, they should have fired at legs, not head and chest. It is highly condemnable. All officers involved must be suspended. We hope the judicial enquiry will bring justice to the victims though we have seen such commissions are set up just to pacify the anger. However, I appeal to Chief Minister to ensure a fair probe so that victims could get justice. It should be probed as to why police opened fire and on whose direction. The guilty must be brought to natural justice so that such incidents could be checked.
It is said that since the JDU-BJP alliance formed their government in the state six years back, the state police have become more communal and brutal. What is your view?
Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi: The perception is not wrong at least in the case of Araria. Reports coming from the area say that a particular party is instigating the local police and administration. This must be checked and it is the responsibility of the government to check it.
Husn Ahmed Quadri: Bihar police has always been communal. That’s why we demand proportionate representation of Muslims in police forces. A similar case has happened during the regime of Lalu Yadav when police gheraoed a village of Muslims in the same Araria district, misbehaved with women and took away 54 people and brutally tortured them. Then there was a secular government. The fact is police is communal. So any government that wants progress with peace, they should ensure proper representation of Muslims in police forces.
Wasi Ahmed Shamshi: Milli Council is not a political institution that I should say anything on this aspect. But I can say that this government is of industrialists and billionaires, the government supports them. Opposition leader Abdul Bari Siddiqi has said that Ashok Agarwal (BJP MLC) has ordered this incident on the support of Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi. This is highly condemnable. The government should know that it has come to power with the support of Muslims.
Forbesganj police firing victims