‘Fake’ encounter widows seek justice in Bihar


Patna : The outcry over the killing of a Muslim man in a fake shootout in Gujarat has brought hope for justice to the widows of three brothers allegedly killed in a similar manner in a Bihar village eight months back.

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The widows of the three men killed in an alleged fake police encounter in Nawadaben village in Bhojpur district about 70 km from here are hopeful of justice.

“In the wake of the Gujarat controversy, our case, which was suppressed by the state police till now, will also draw national attention and we might get justice,” the women said here Friday.

Police allegedly gunned down the brothers – Ram, Lakshman and Bharat – from Nawadaben village on Aug 25, 2006, claiming they were criminals killed during crossfire.

Ever since, the family members of the slain men and the villagers have denied they were criminals and alleged that it was a case of fake encounter. They also alleged that the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha was responsible for the killings.

Last year, the widows along with other family members staged a protest in New Delhi and sought intervention of the National Human Rights Commission for justice. They also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the killings.

The Bihar government Thursday decided to recommend a CBI probe into the killings. Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah said a formal request would be made to the CBI to conduct the probe. “The probe will come out with the real story,” he said.

He admitted that the Gujarat issue had prompted the government’s move.

The villagers of Nawadaben had protested against the killings by blocking traffic on the national highway and demanded the arrest of Deputy Police Superintendent S.S. Thakur, who had led the police team.

A.C. Verma, inspector-general Criminal Investigation Department, was asked to probe into the incident by the state government. In his report, Verma said it was a genuine encounter.

The Gujarat police, acting on a Supreme Court directive on April 24 arrested three senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers for killing an innocent Muslim in a fake encounter in November 2005 after claiming he was a terrorist.

The “encounter” or the staged shootout took place on Nov 26, 2005 in Ahmedabad, killing Sohrabuddin Sheikh on the outskirts of this city.

Kausar Bi, the wife of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, was killed at an isolated place near Gandhinagar and her remains burnt.