On 23 March this year, a court in Patna passed a sentence in the case of the murder of former JNUSU President Comrade Chandrashekhar, and his fellow CPI(ML) activist Shyam Narain Yadav. The sentence came 15 years after Chandrashekhar and Shyam Narain were shot dead at JP Chowk, Siwan. The court, acting on evidence provided by the CBI investigation, convicted three men - Dhruv Kumar Jaiswal; Sheikh Munna and Illiyas Warsi - for the murder, and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
A CBI Press Release on 23 March tells us that the CBI filed a charge-sheet against these accused on 30.5.1998, “after thorough investigation”. The question is, why, according to the CBI’s ‘thorough investigation’, did these men kill Comrade Chandrashekhar? They were hit-men, well-known criminals. Why did these criminals feel the need to kill a former JNUSU President who had come as a CPI(ML) activist to Siwan just two months back? It did not require much ‘investigation’ on CBI’s part, to establish that it was these men who fired the bullets that killed Chandrashekhar –since they were notorious in Siwan and were recognized by eyewitnesses. The real purpose of any genuine investigation would be to establish who ordered these men to kill Chandrashekhar. And that is exactly what the CBI has avoided doing – because the answer was politically embarrassing. The answer was that the real killer – the man who ordered the killing and benefited from the killing – was a political leader from a party allied today to the ruling party at the Centre. He is Mohd. Shahabuddin, former MP from the RJD.
The CBI was forced to begin the investigation into the murder because a massive movement of students and concerned citizens forced the Governments at the Centre and Bihar in 1997 to agree to a CBI enquiry. But for the past 15 years, the CBI, for obviously political motives, has been willfully blind to the real motives behind the murder, and to the identity of the real killer, Shahabuddin. The CBI has deliberately acted as though Chandrashekhar’s killing was a random shooting rather than a political assassination, committed to silence and terrorise activists who dared to challenge the regime of the criminal mafia politician Shahabuddin, and the Bihar Government led by his party. Chandrashekhar and Shyam Narain were killed because they had the courage to stand in a public square in Siwan town, where no one dared to fly a flag of any party except Shahabuddin’s own party, and where no one else dared to speak out against Shahabuddin.
The day the verdict came out, there was a story in a leading English daily, saying that a certain proposed film about Chandu could now go ahead. The actor who we are told is to play the role of Chandu is quoted as saying, “After so many years of confusion, accusations, chaos, finally, justice has come to Chandrashekhar.” A noted film director said to be backing the film project is quoted as saying that the verdict has finally given “some sense of closure to this horrible tragedy.” Were the actor, director and others associated with this film ‘confused’ about who killed Chandrashekhar? Did they feel that the slogan raised by the student movement – ‘Shahabuddin ko phansi do’ was a mere ‘accusation’? Do they feel that ‘justice’ has been done because three hit-men were sentenced to life in prison?
Well, all those who share Chandrashekhar’s vision and commitment, reject any such idea of ‘closure’. Such a verdict is not justice, it is a mockery of justice. Thousands of people hit the streets against Chandrashekhar’s murder because they were angry that in our country, a criminal mafia politician, belonging to the ruling party I Bihar, and whose vote in Parliament supported the then UF Government at the Centre, cold-bloodedly got a young activist killed, who had chosen to join the struggles of the poor and deprived people. Until and unless Shahabuddin, the main political conspirator behind the assassination, is punished in the most severe way, there can be no justice for Chandrashekhar.