Friday, July 07, 2006

Bihar Diary

The change of guard, after fifteen years of misrule, in Bihar might smooth the befuddled political ambitions of its biggest political party Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) to rethink and reorganize itself in the next five years. So applies to the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) that dripped into its own crossroads. For ultra secular reasons LJP was one of the major contenders to see the affairs of the state more angrily.

In a very short span of time, after the masses of Bihar gave their mandate and elected the new government, it has also provided “ample opportunities” to the left handled Congress led Central government --- the UPA to calculate their future strategies in countering the right piqued Nitish Kumar government of the state. This would help the RJD too to understand the art of the war of muscles for how to regain power in the shattered state in the next assembly elections.

Former governor Buta Singh tried to pamper his power in unopposed conditions, and had enough mileage to rule the state for several months. His second innings too was like his first innings, when he demurely complied with the political pressures that overpowered constitutional sanctity.

None could ignore his efforts in constituting a high-powered committee to curb criminal activities in the state in his first attempt of constitutional crackling. To remember one such, he applied the power to let down the gangsters, got arrested 15000 absconding criminals who were caught and put behind the bars under the able handling of the then state chief secretary K.A.H Subramanian.

This special derive was an initiation to improve the law and order situation in the state that was one of the major reasons of imposing president’s rule before a new political equation was expected to take birth. Mr. Singh, then, deserved full marks on his assignment.

Subramanian had then repackaged a crime control panel under the aegis of the police and administrative authorities of the state and had then briefed it to the media in his first one on one when the state came under president’s rule, “the state legal department is giving final touches to a crime control act like TADA. The home and legal departments were studying TADA and the crime prevention laws in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Similar provisions would be made in the new legislation to curb crime in Bihar”. The then acting advisor to the governor might remember this statement of his own. He might have, perhaps, conveyed this to his successors also. But more than hundred day old Nitish Kumar government seems to have disagreed with him for now.

Nothing has materialized from then till date. The hoopla has resurrected with the garnering of Mr. Kumar’s secure prospects to rule the state to add on in creating history. Criminal activities minus political stamp pad, continues in the state. Cracking a few notorious goons is nothing but a routine diagnosis of the ailing law and order situation of the state.

What Purnea tells
Purnea is one such sub-divisions of Bihar that goes after an old saying, “come to Purnea to die”. The sub-division is a full fledged district stretched into 18,78,885 kilometers with eleven blocks namely East Purnea, Krityanand Nagar, Banmankhi, Kaswa, Amaur, Bainsi, Baisa, Dhamdaha, Tarhara Kothi, Rupauli and Bhawanipur. This is obvious that the new government is trying its level best to end criminal activities in the sub-division but no fruitful outcome has come in fore till date.

The new government of the state should avail this opportunity to partake the constitutional empowerments for securing Purnea’s pride that is ogling into the deep dark ages along with the time. The district, primarily an agrarian one accommodates four renowned rivers of the Bihar, namely Kosi, Mahananda, Suwara Kali and Koli that provide abundant water to the farmers of this region and other parts of the state as well, and though they are also the primary reason of their devastation; flood in the rainy season is mandatory that costs lots of lives and properties every year. Even then the district is one of the major producers of jute that are grown here as its land is fit for this cultivation.

Bordering several other districts of the state like Araria in the north, Katihar and Bhagalpur in south, Kishanganj and West Dinajpur of West Bengal in east and Madhepura & Saharsa districts in west, Purnea has its own identity as a central point of the region.

The preceding governments, including present one to be mentioned here, might have forgot that Purnea once known as “poor man’s Darjeeling because of its favourable climatic conditions and rainfall”, is being neglected by the state governments that is one of the largest producers of poultry and egg in Bihar.

The new government needs to introspect that how much concerned it has been upon the periods in curbing the criminal activities in this region that ruins the historical identity of this sub-division. Prosperity here has turned into devastation.

Employment generating aspects that once mushroomed in Purnea is now extinct thought for its inhabitants. The past experiences of malnourished deaths, natural calamities be added, that the region always encounters; a well saying goes, “there was a time when people in the area fell like flies to the malaria”. The present status is more alarming.

People still fell like flies. But malaria mosquitoes have less impact now. They are replaced by the goons, who are armed with sophisticated weapons and spew blood and terror in the villages and other towns of the district and its adjacent areas like Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar.

The bonhomie has come to its peak. It is not denying that the masses treat the administration and the criminals equally --- in the same quo. Their faith, strength and belief in democratic system of governance have turned into fight for the might attitude. They are scared masses much scared of themselves and the goons. Nobody dares to come out and be quoted on the issues like criminalisation, rape, extortion, kidnappings and killings for ransom or are even ready to present oneself as witnesses if has faced such atrocities.

The reason is that it can happen to any one who opens their mouth or be repeated again because police are not in the position to secure their lives at the first instance. “Better to survive cowardly than to die early” is boorish but applies at large in this region. Surprisingly local journalists are not courageous enough to report these crimes for one reason or the other.

The organized crime found base in this unorganized region; Purnea where like Assam, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Orrissa, organized criminal groups have already flourished, is emerging in this sub-division. The North Bihar Liberation Army (NBLA); most notorious of the gangs and White Ant Army, another group are thriving to develop anti-constitutional and anti-democratic spirits, that in the long run, would hamper the growth prospects of the region.

This is for long that the history of Purnea is dying down gradually. The state governments, either the president’s rule by the governor, or the legislative assembly elected by the masses should take utmost efforts to curb criminal activities for providing better opportunities and prospects for the survival of its inhabitants, failing which the region would divide this part of India into some more pieces.

The saying goes that history repeats itself. In case of Purnea it seems untrue. Peace has turned into turmoil. Is India ready to see the emergence of another gruesome partition? Purnea is encountering the suppressed growth. The government should take ardent steps to control the law and order situation here either it is any!

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