THE brutality of Bihar police was exposed on March 29 when it mercilessly lathi charged the students democratically protesting against the opening of a branch of Aligarh Muslim University in State’s Kishanganj area. The students were going to meet the Chief Minister with their demands but the police did not allow them. When they protested, the police lathi charged them and also used tear gas shells. Over a dozen students were injured in the lathi charge.
The police stopped the protesting students at R Block Crossing, which is close to the Chief Minister’s residence. The stone pelting was reported from both sides at this point. The police suddenly started lathi charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse them. Meanwhile, a group of students managed to reach the gate of the Assembly and started staging demonstration. This group basically faced the inhuman brutality of the State police. Some of the students were reportedly taken to Secretariat Police Station and were very brutally beaten-up.
The police was so brutal that some of the students including Umashankar Bharati, Sarvajit Shandilya and Rajiv Ranjan became unconscious on the spot. The brutality of police crossed all limits when the police did not take them to hospital despite repeated requests. An activist somehow took highly bleeding Rajiv Ranjan to a hospital at Gardinar Road where the doctors referred him to Patna Medical College. The condition of Ranjan is still critical. The police did not spare even the teachers. Prof Anjani Pandey from Nawadha was very inhumanly beaten-up with sticks and shoes. National secretary of ABVP Shri Ramashankar Sinha and State secretary Shri Rajesh Kumar received multiple fractures in hands.
Regional organising secretary of ABVP Shri Dinesh Kumar said 65 students were seriously injured in police brutality. He said the State government has crossed all limits of Muslim appeasement and it is illogical to set-up a branch of AMU in Bihar. He said the government is doing this to grab Muslim votes in the forthcoming Assembly elections. “Opening an university branch in Kishanganj will transform the district into a major hub of militants,” he said.
State organising secretary Shri Gopal Sharma said if the State government feels that Kishanganj is a educationally backward it can set-up a separate university in the name of any nationalist personality. “Having the branch of other State’s university puts a question mark over the education system of the State. If the government wishes, it can open IIT, National Law School or any medical college in the region,” he said.
It is to be noted that the Central government has decided to open six centres of Aligarh Muslim University at six different places of the country. A team of the University under the leadership of its Vice Chancellor visited Bihar on February 4 to start the special branch in Kishanganj. The team explained the project to the Chief Minister through power point presentation and the Chief Minister finally allotted 243.76 acre land to the University on March 27. The land has been allotted on lease for 30 years with the option of further renewal.
Surprisingly another branch of the AMU is being set-up in Mursheedabad of West Bengal, just 110 km from Kishanganj and another in Malappuram in Kerala. The State government did not take even one month to allot the land to the AMU but it has not taken any decision on the plea of the Border Security Force which even deposited Rs ten crore for a piece of land about 15 years back.
Protesting against the State government’s move to open the unit of AMU, the ABVP called for a day-long bandh in the State on April 1. The dawn to dusk bandh began amid tight security arrangements and passed off largely peacefully. Another reason for the bandh was to protest against the police lathi charge on ABVP activists. ABVP’s call also had the support of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal.
Meanwhile, amid allegations of police excesses, the State government ordered an enquiry into the incident by Inspector General RS Bhatti. But the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar clearly said the AMU branch would be opened in Kishanganj at any costs. “We are committed to setting-up a branch of AMU in Kishanganj,” he said. Muslims make up 66.7 per cent of the voters in Kishanganj parliamentary constituency, about 400 km from Patna.
(Sanjiv Kumar, VSK Patna)