Bihar Bandh Evokes Massive Response

Arun Kumar Mishra

BIHAR bandh, organised by the Left parties on August 2, evoked massive response all across the state. It was a result of the culmination of a series of incidents of violence and attacks targeting dalits and other vulnerable sections of society. For the first time in the recent days, the Left had grabbed the attention of national media and saw success in putting Nitish Kumar government in the dock.
The gang rape of mother and daughter in Gaya; evictions of dalits at different places in the state including Patna, Madhubani, Saharsha, Muzaffarpur, Khagaria; gang rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and murder of his 8-year-old brother in Muzaffarpur, and sexual abuse of 34 inmates of short-stay home run by an NGO, are a glaring proof of the inefficiency of the state government in protecting the vulnerable sections here.

On the other hand, chief minister Nitish Kumar and his close aide Sushil Modi, have been tight-lipped about these numerous acts of atrocities and instead, have been trying to protect the culprits who are known to be close associates of a few high authorities in the state.
Meanwhile the RSS leaders have been visiting the state often to aid and abet communal tensions. Recently, an entire hamlet of dalits in Moglaha village of Madhubani district was razed to the ground. The CPI(M) under the leadership of Umesh Ghosh held dharnas and demonstrations and pushed the authorities to rehabilitate the homeless. Subhashini Ali, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, visited Moglaha and met with the local authorities. She pointed that the officials have failed in protecting the dalits.

CPI(M) has intervened is most of the cases and tried to build agitations on all these issues, independently and along with other organisations. The Moglaha incident is a good example of how the local movement can be built by remaining in close contacts with the victims, mobilising them for struggle and helping them in every possible way. The evicted people took shelter in a nearby school which was in a dilapidated condition. The CPI(M) collected food and other materials for them and also urged the authorities to provide them basic necessities. The Party also distributed clothes among the victims and some of the local comrades are residing nearby to monitor the situation.
Left parties CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), SUCI(C), RSP and Forward Block met on July 26, and gave a call for Bihar bandh on August 2. They demanded monitoring of CBI investigation by the High Court, dismissal of Manju Verma from the cabinet and the arrest of husband of Manju Verma who was allegedly a co-conspirator in the racket. A demand that orphanages and remand homes should immediately be taken over by the government and NGOS should be kept out from such institutions was also made. To add to deep shock and dismay, it has recently become known that the girls who were witness in this case and who were sent to another shelter home in Madhubani, are missing.
It is understood that only through constant vigilance on the part of the Left and democratic people of Bihar, will the hapless girls find justice.

Left-sponsored bandh questioned the morality of Nitish, forced him to break his long silence and concede most of the demands raised by the Left parties. Now the High Court will monitor the investigation of CBI; the government will take over all the stay homes, orphanages etc.

He is yet to answer many questions - why the welfare minister is still in the cabinet; why her husband, Chandra Shekhar Verma, was not arrested; why the main accused is not taken to remand; who is behind the missing of girls sent to Madhubani stay home; why Madhu, the right hand woman of Brajesh Thakur not been arrested; who are the political mentors of Brajesh Thakur; now, when the Supreme Court has harshly criticised Nitish led government, will he quit the office?

The bandh was actively supported by RJD, Samajwadi Party, HAM and other independent outfits. The Left initiative was very timely and it galvanised the broad spectrum of fighting masses.  The Left parties will meet and chalk out further course of action on various peoples issues and work to defeat BJP in the coming parliamentary election and carry on the struggle by cementing Left unity and building the Left and democratic front with alternative policies.



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