THE Bihar bandh called by the CPI (ML) Bihar State committee for 12 July on the following issues—high level judicial enquiry into the political patronage of the toppers’ scam; inclusion of educationists in the committee; implementation of common school system; revoking of SC-ST scholarship cuts; revoking of stay on provisions for reservation in government job promotions; revoking of non-aided education policy; confiscation of the scamsters’ properties; and review of matric and inter exam results—was very effective across the State. Train services, roads, schools, colleges, banks, shops, block offices etc. remained closed for several hours at various places. The campaign for the bandh stressed that the media focus on publicly exposing and shaming the individual student ‘toppers’ was misplaced because these students were victims rather than beneficiaries of acorrupt and anti-people education policy. The bandh got full support from students, intellectuals, dalits, non-aided teachers and others.
In Patna a march in support of the bandh led by State Secretary Com. Kunal went from Gandhi Maidan to Dak Bangla chowk where hundreds including senior leaders of the Party were arrested. Speakers at the meeting castigated Nitish Kumar for destroying the education system in the State and ruining the future of Bihar’s young, making a mockery of his promise to bring social justice. Merely a criminal enquiry into the toppers’ scam will not do; the political patronage must also be probed, as there are clear links between Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad, Giriraj Singh (BJP) and main scam accused education mafia leader Bacchca Singh. They added that the two-faced and non-aided policy has replaced affordable government education with profiteering private schools and has ruined Bihar’s education.
The leaders also strongly condemned sections of the media for blaming Bihar’s education mess on SC/ST/OBC reservations. These biased sections of the media forget that Tamil Nadu, which is praised for its good education indicators compared to Bihar, has also implemented reservations which have benefited weaker sections of society.
They pointed that cuts in SC/ST scholarships and the stay on reservations SC/ST reservations in government job promotions are contrary to the promise of “social justice”. The purpose is clearly to stop the weaker sections from advancing in society. Holding all 3 parties—JDU, RJD, and BJP—responsible, the speakers demanded a judicial enquiry into the political patronage of the scam and also rejected the current education policy which deepened social inequalities.
School children participated in large numbers in the rallies at Jehanabad and Arwal. The students said that the government schools are in dire condition with extreme shortage of teachers, resulting in those who could afford it to go for private schools. The poor are left in the pathetic government schools.
The working of banks and blocks in Buxar and Kesath were affected by the bandh and non-aided teachers came out in large numbers at Motihari. CPI (ML), RYA, AISA activists and bandh supporters stopped trains across the State for varying lengths of time which included Sampark Kranti, Sealdah Sapt Kranti, Vaishali, Jamalpur-Gaya Passenger, Patna-Sasaram Fast Passenger, 565 Uo Local, Ranchi-Patna Janshatabdi, Patna-Ara Passenger, Shramjeevi, Bhagalpur-Dana Express, and Janshatabdi Express in Masaurhi.
Roads and National Highways were also blocked at various parts of the State: GT Road, NH 57, NH 30, NH 98, NH 83, NH 28, Muzaffarpur-Shivhar Road, Dumraon-Vikramgarh Road, Buxar-Dinara Road, JP Chowk and Gopalganj crossing in Siwan. The bandh was also effective and widely participated in Motihari, Eastern Champaran, Saran, Buxar, Sasaram, Vikramganj, Kaimur, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur, Madhepura, Supoul, and Saharsa. In Ara different groups marched at block HQs across the district. Koilvar bridge and Ara bus stand were blocked for hours by the bandh supporters led by MLA Com. Sudama Prasad and other leaders. About 60 supporters were arrested in Jagdishpur.
Road and rail traffic were obstructed and effective marches were also taken out in Navada, Aurangabad, Nalanda, Jamui, Shekhpura, Katihar and Arariya.