Ruled by the Rashtriya Janata
Dal (RJD), Bihar remained the most lawless state in
India. On 6 December 2004, Patna High Court observed
that “The situation (crime) appears to have gone beyond
control”. Earlier, on 25 November 2004, Patna High Court
ordered the Superintendent of Police of Bettiah to appear
before the court on 2 December 2004 for allegedly refusing
to register the FIR filed by a doctor who received the
threats of extortion and kidnapping.
Insecurity of common citizens
is all pervasive in Bihar. On the night of 29 March
2004, alleged criminals shot dead Narendra Singh, the
Beur Prison Jailor, near Nala Road under Kadam Kuan
police station in Patna. On 14 November 2004, unidentified
criminals shot dead Basudeo Prasad, a professor of CM Science College under Lalit Narayan
Mithila University of Darbhanga when he was on his way
to Sultanganj in Patna to meet his relatives.
In 2004, the TVS Motors
withdrew its operation. In the past two years, other
business establishments like Maruti Suzuki Ltd, Hero
Honda, Yamaha Bajaj, Escorts, Videocon, too have reportedly
shifted base from Bihar. Reports of traders, businessmen,
government officials and other people getting kidnapped,
ransom calls and extortion threats from the criminals
patronised by politicians and the underworld are routine.
The violence and killings
by the criminals and the armed opposition groups like
Ranvir Sena, Peoples War (PW) and Maoists Communist
Centre (MCC) in Bihar could be considered at the same
level as the violence caused by the armed opposition
groups elsewhere in India. Yet, the Central government
and Bihar government maintained double standards. The
Centre declared the MCC and PW as “terrorist organisations”
under section 18 of the Prevention of Terrorist Act,
2002 and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Act 2004. However, the Ranvir Sena, private army of
the landlords, which has officially been involved in
33 massacre cases claiming over 280 lives, has not been
banned. Not surprisingly, on 18 March 2004,
Bhumiyar youth in Gaya reportedly announced the formation
of yet another private army - Tandav Sena to counter the MCC and PW.
Extreme poverty and discrimination
especially in the administration of justice accentuate
the violations against the Dalits. Like all things in
Bihar, even poverty alleviation programmes targeted
for the poorest Dalits only benefit the upper castes.
The prosecutions of the culprits for the Laxmanpur Bathe
massacre of 1 and 2 December 1997, Shanker Bigha massacre
of 25 January 1999 and Narayanpur massacre of 10 February
1999 have been collapsing simply because of the unwillingness
of the State to establish accountability.
The Dalit women were extremely
vulnerable especially to sexual abuse. In July 2004,
the upper castes had cut the hair of Sumitra Devi, a
Dalit widow of Jhapha Udan village in Muzaffarpur district,
beaten her, stripped her and poured acid on her private
Prison conditions remained
inhuman. The conditions of about 55 prisoners lodged
in jails at Bhagalpur, Gaya and Muzaffarpur who have
been awarded death sentence but not executed, were the
Those who seek to change
the status quo are special targets of the criminals.
On 24 January 2004, social activists, Sarita Kumari
and Mahesh Kant of Institute of Research and Action
were killed by the criminals.
In the midst of such lawless
situation, human rights violations by Bihar Police are
often ignored. In November 2004, 12-year-old Govinda
was handcuffed and tied with a big rope by the police
personnel of Sri Krishna Puri police station in the
heart of capital Patna.