Killing of Bihar youths in Mumbai blacks out Diwali at home


Patna : Hundreds of people of Kadamkuan locality here did not celebrate Diwali Tuesday to protest the killing of local youth Rahul Raj in police firing in Mumbai a day before. In Bara-Khurd village in Nalanda district too, it was a dark Diwali with the people protesting the death of one of their own boys, Pawan Kumar, in violence unleashed by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the Maharashtra capital last week.

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People in both places are sad and angry. “It was collectively decided not to celebrate Diwali in the village to protest Pawan’s killing,” said Shankar Paswan of Bara-Khurd.

Another villager, Manohar Mahto, said: “How can we celebrate Diwali when a promising village youth was killed by MNS activists for no crime?”

In Kadamkuan, a middle-class locality, the mood is sombre. Raj’s body is scheduled to arrive from Mumabi. “It is not celebration time, but mourning time. We are with his family in this time of pain and sorrow. There is no question of celebrating Diwali,” said Jayant Singh, a neighbour of Raj.

Raj’s friend Sushant Kumar, who lives near his house, said: “It has turned into a black Diwali for us. The spirit of the day is missing. There is no happiness, no sweets, no new clothes.”

Pawan Kumar, a resident of Bara-Khurd, was one of the hundreds of students from Bihar who had gone to take a railway recruitment examination in Maharashtra on Oct 19 when the MNS activists attacked them.

The son of a poor farmer, Jagdish Prasad, Kumar had hoped to improve his family’s standard of living by getting a government job. Prasad has filed a murder case against MNS chief Raj Thackeray in a court in Biharsharif, the district headquarters of Nalanda, about 100 km from here.

Raj, 25, was shot dead by police Monday after he attacked the conductor of a bus and fired at and injured a passenger. He also fired in the air, Maharashtra Police officials said.

Raj’s father, K.P. Singh, has demanded justice. “My son was killed in a fake encounter. It was a big conspiracy and a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe will bring out the truth,” Singh said here.