To take Forbesganj police firing at national level, victims meet press in Delhi

By Md. Ali,,

New Delhi: For Tahirun Khatoon and Amina Khatoon it was like living the tragedy again and again. With tears in eyes, they were talking to the press in Delhi on Saturday, recounting the brutal ways in which their sons Mustafa Ansari and Mukhtar Ansari were killed by the Bihar police. Occasion was the press conference organized by the non-governmental organization ANHAD at the press club yesterday where the victims of Forbesganj police firing were meeting the national press.

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On 3rd June 2011, 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 for a factory. The police not only opened fire on the protestors but chased them to their homes and killed four people including two women and a six-month-old infant.

Phatkan Ansari broke down while talking about how his son Mohd Mustafa Ansari was brutally killed by Bihar police, Mahesh Bhatt looks on

The footage of a Bihar police brutality was being shown to the press on the projector. Then came a moment when the footage showed a Bihar police jawan jumping on the face of half dead body of Mustafa Ansari in the presence of the Superintendent of Police Garima Malik.

The visuals were enough for the two mothers to break down and fall on the ground. People from the press were apparently horrified looking at one of the most violent and brutal acts on helpless body of Mustafa Ansari who turned out to be alive when his body was taken for post-mortem but succumbed later.

The press conference was an effort to highlight the Forbesganj police firing incident which has largely been ignored by the national media. Present on the occasion was film maker Mahesh Bhatt who was concerned at the growing communalization of police.

Tahirun Khatoon and Amina Khatoon broke down recounting the horror of Bihar police atrocities

“The way the Bihar police has acted in the Forbesganj firing incident only shows that police is increasingly becoming communalized which is not at all a good sign for the secular fabric of this country.”

Bhatt was also critical of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar because of its alleged apathy towards the victims of the Forbesganj police firing. He doubted Kumar’s secular credentials and his sincerity to punish those responsible for the blatant attack on the human rights of the minorities in the state.

“ Initially I was hopeful that Nitish Kumarji will do some thing but the way he has been completely silent on the whole issue is certainly some thing which I didn’t expect from him,” said Bhatt.

Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad told the press talked about the facts of the land acquisition which led to the firing. The Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority had acquired 85 acre land in the village, out of which 37 acre was given to start the Auro Sundaram International Glucose and Starch factory in 2010.

Hashmi said that the village road was not part of the 37 acre given to the company, but was in the middle of two portions of land the company owned. “If the road was part of the land given to Auro Sundaram, the total area would have exceeded 38.5 acre,” Hashmi added.

Ms. Hashmi demanded immediate dismissal of Superintendent of Police Garima Malik and other senior police, and administrative officers who were reportedly present at the site when firing was ordered, besides the immediate arrest of Bihar BJP Councillor Ashok Agarwal who allegedly fired on the crowd. His son Saurabh Agarwal is a director in the Auro Sundaram company.

Hashmi also demanded from the state government to investigate the role of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi who allegedly made a visit to Araria to press the local administration to illegally help the BJP councilor.
Further demands include immediate compensation of 10 lakhs to the families of those killed, one lakh to the injured and treatment of all injured at govt expense.

Speakers in the press conference including Dr. Shakeel Ahmad Khan, the spokesperson of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) demanded 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.

Hashmi demanded an apology from Nitish Kumar led NDA government 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.