The man who ruled Siwan for over a decade with muscle power is out of jail after 11 years. His release has again provoked the memories of jungle raj and increased the political temperature in Bihar
Siwan, which is known for the birthplace of India’s first
President Rajendra Prasad, lost its halo after the emergence of notorious former MP and trusted lieutenant of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mohammad Shahabuddin alias ‘Saheb’. The man who ruled Siwan for over a decade with muscle and gun power is out after 11 years. As he was the symbol of infamous jungle raj of Lalu Prasad Yadav, his release has not only revived the memories of reign of terror among people but has also created fissures in Patna with the rising political temperature between the uneasy Lalu-Nitish alliance in the State.
Immediately after the release of ‘Saheb’, Siwan Police have provided security to 20 people in the district who face threat from Shahabuddin. That was first disturbing sign of the release of political and criminal strongman.
‘The word ‘Faith’ lost in my dictionary’
Having lost three of his four sons to murder, Chanda Babu of Siwan is upset after the release of dreaded gangster-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin. Shahabuddin has got bail in regard to Chanda Babu’s third son, Rajiv Roshan’s murder which he committed in 2014 and who’s trial is yet to start. Rajiv was witness to the murder of his two brothers Gitish and Satish, which Shahabuddin did in 2004. Now the question is why the State government could not begin the trial in two years period. In an exclusive interview to Organiser, Chanda Babu shared his emotions and said he has lost his ‘faith’ in system. Excerpts:
The ill-effect can be seen on the local media voices also. One reporter from electronic media wrote on her Facebook wall that she has grown up listening to the horrors committed by Shahabuddin. Many common people of Bihar carry the similar negative impact with the name of Shahabuddin. This long list includes the story of this
helpless father Chandrakeshwar Prasad alias Chanda Babu. The two sons of Chanda Babu were brutally murdered by drenching them in acid, and the eye witness who was his third son was also killed later. A happy family was ruined. Today he is only left with a wife who is having health problems and a physically handicapped son. One can witness the horror in the eyes of Chanda Babu who lost his three sons. He has lost faith in the system. The misery of Chanda Babu is reflected back by him on his destiny where he could not contest with the failures of administration and law. He considers him a helpless father since he is forlorn and even alive with it. This feeling of helplessness for the families of victims is another signal that the ‘muscle power’ cannot be challenged. Shahabuddin was in prison since eleven years in the same case and the sentiments of Chanda Babu reflect the state of innumerable families in Bihar.
Anxiety in Alliance
The real side effect of this release has been on the tricky alliance between RJD and JD (U). Shahabuddin attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as soon as he was set free. He asserted that Nitish Kumar is a leader of a meagre 3 per cent, and not of masses. He continued that Nitish Kumar cannot win even 20 seats in Legislative Assembly elections on his credit, while confirming Lalu Prasad as his leader.
He also claimed that Kumar is just a ‘Chief Minister made under certain circumstances’, alike Madhu Koda in Jharkhand. Conscious of his image, Chief Minister immediately called an emergency meeting and later Power Minister Vijendra Yadav and Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh opened attack on RJD in the press meet. They indicated that RJD vice-President Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Lalu Yadav should not get much vocal on the issue, showing RJD its position in the alliance. Raghuvansh Prasad also lamented of not having a common platform in the alliance. Lalu Prasad also counter attacked in indication that under the consideration of understanding and policy, only Party President must make comments. After this attack, another partner of the alliance, Congress Party’s State unit President and Education Minister of the State Ashok Choudhary appealed RJD that if it finds the going in the alliance difficult, it should part its way.
The Tricky Lalu
Though the release of Shahabuddin is just on bail, thanks to inaction from the government side, many see it as Lalu’s strategy to keep Nitish Kumar under pressure. According to sources, he is waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Political analysts believe that this will allow Lalu to reclaim his dwindling MY (Muslim-Yadav) equation, by ensuring the release of the ‘Muslim leader’. Over the years Nitish Kumar has garnered the support of Muslims which Lalu wants to get back. It is very early to say whether RJD will continue with the alliance. One thing is for sure, knowing Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political acumen and ambition, he would like to see his son as the Chief Minister of Bihar in future, for which he can play any trick.
Lose-Lose Situation for Nitish
When Nitish Kumar first took over as the Chief Minister in 2005 in alliance with BJP, crime-free Bihar was his main poll-plank. At that time it was a different political scenario with the BJP as an ally and RJD as the foe. Shahabuddin’s proximity to Lalu Prasad Yadav is known to everyone and with this difficult alliance it is a challenge for Nitish to take tough action against the Don of Siwan. With tremendous political pressure, Bihar government has moved to Supreme Court against Shahabuddin’s bail. If the Nitish Kumar Government decides to continue pursuing the cases against Shahabuddin to their logical end, it would certainly shake the JD (U)-RJD alliance from its comfort zone. At
present, with rising BJP, both the
parties are not in a position to walk out from the alliance, but as it is said, in politics nothing is permanent.
Opposition parties like BJP did not miss a chance to attack the Bihar Government on this issue. Ex-deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi has made the government responsible for the same. He has well placed doubts that while Shahabuddin is free, there cannot be a neutral and just investigation in the journalist Rajdev Ranjan murder case and Rajiv Roshan case. The way in which the prison release of Shahabuddin was celebrated with joy has implications of its own. The
caravan of Shahabuddin rallied from Bhagalpur till his paternal village of Pratappur in Siwan. Nobody dared to ask for toll tax for the hundreds of vehicles passing through toll bridges. While in Gopalganj, a youth was deeply absconded and harassed by
the crowd for stopping them to burst crackers.
No proceeding of speedy trial against Shahabuddin also says a lot regarding the tall claims of good
governance by Nitish Kumar. Out of the pending 58 cases against the
criminal turned politician, in 8 cases he is already been convicted. This includes the cases pertaining to heinous crimes such as murder in which even witnesses have deposed. BJP has alleged that despite Shahabuddin being in prison, notice could not be served to him which has resulted in his non appearance before the trial courts.
The law will take its own course in the remaining cases, as of now the release of Shahabuddin has created simmers in Siwan, the side effects of which can be felt even in Patna. n