Several thousands of people, including working people, rural poor, intellectuals and writers participated in a Jan Sunwai at Patna. Participants deposed on their experiences of struggles for justice in the Bathani Tola case, the Rupam Pathak case, the Aurangabad police lathicharge, and several political killings.
Bathani massacre survivor Nayeemuddin Ansari deposed at the hearing, recounting his long quest for justice since 1996. He said that the Bihar HC verdict was a rude shock, and that he and other survivors would appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court, since if the judiciary is serious about justice, it cannot let a cold-blooded massacre of 21 innocents go unpunished.
AIKM leader Sudama Prasad noted that all accused had been acquitted not only in the Bathani Tola case but also in the Khagdi-Bigha and Jahir-Bigha massacre cases; and while Dharma Singh, the main accused in the Bathe massacre, had been sentenced to death, he continues to be a contractor protected by the BJP-JD(U). He spoke of the facts in the Amausi case, where 10 musahars including Bodhan Sada have been sentenced to death and 16 to life, without any credible evidence.
CPI(ML)’s Aurangabad district secretary Anwar Husain deposed at length about the facts indicating the involving Goh’s JD(U) MLA in the murder of Chhotu Mukhiya, and in conspiring with the DM and SP for the police assault on protestors against the murder.
Naval Kishor of Araria deposed about the firing and brutality by police at Forbesganj, where no one has been punished though a year has passed.
AIPWA leader Saroj Choubey shared the experience of taking up Rupam Pathak’s struggle for justice. She said Rupam has been denied a chance to defend herself, and her complaints of rape have been deliberately suppressed instead of seriously investigated.
The Jan Sunwai was addressed by CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. Among others who spoke at the Jan Sunwai were CPI(ML) leaders KD Yadav and Arun Singh, CPI leader Vijaynarayan Mishra, CPI(M) State Secretariat Member Sargandhar Paswan, Rupesh of Lok Parishad, America Mehto of Forward Bloc, SUCI(C)’s State Secretary Arun Kumar Singh and Ashok Priyadarshi of Lok Mukti Sangharsh Vahini, Sant Singh, national secretary of the Shoshit Samaj Dal. Other participants included Prem Kumar Mani of the Bihar Parivartan Morcha, Prof. Bharti S. Kumar and Prof. Santosh Kumar, short story writer Ravindra Bharati, educationist Ghalib and others. The 7-member jury comprising Prof MN Karn, Prof NK Chaudhury, Padma Shri recipient Sudha Verghese, Kishori Das (PUCL), Manikant Thakur (BBC), Advocate Yogesh Verma and CPI(ML) PB member Comrade Ramji Rai, heard the depositions and delivered a verdict indicting the Nitish Government and its administration for protecting political assassins, repressive police officers, and feudal killers. The jury opined that there was need for a CBI enquiry into the Forbesganj firing, Aurangabad incidents, the killings of Bhaiyyaram of Rohtas, Surendra Yadav of Samastipur, and Chhotu mukhiya of Aurangabad, release of Rupam Pathak and a CBI investigation of her complaints of rape. The jury held that the Bihar Government should challenge the bail order for Brahmeshwar Singh and appeal to the SC to correct the biases of police and prosecution in the Bathani Tola case. The jury held that assaults on democracy were on the rise in Bihar, and injustice was taking place in the name of ‘justice’. The jury supported the ongoing struggle of people for real justice and democracy.