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Published On:26 November 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

IMO EXCLUSIVE: Battered by Naxals, ditched by Rajputs, discriminated by Laloo Yadav, Rohilla Pathans rue their fate under Nitish Kumar

By H.R. Ahmad

Patna: Who suffered most in Bihar in the cycle of violence unleashed by Naxalites, then called MCC (Maoist Communist Centre), now rechristianed as Maoists? They are none other than the members of leaderless, fearless and brave Rohilla Pathan community, who lived solely on land in the interiors of Imamganj assembly segment currently represented by high-profile speaker of Bihar legislative assembly Uday Narain Chaudhry.

When the Siddharth Shanker Ray government in West Bengal took repressive measures against the Naxalites, they sneaked into the jungles of Bihar and started organising the weaker sections of society against the landlords. After a short while, they built up a strong base among the deprived sections of society and managed to send one of their cadre and sympathiser Ramadhar Singh to the Bihar assembly from Gurua with the tacit support of the then Bihar government.

Naxal movement started in the early 80s in Gaya was taken with a pinch of salt by the gullible Rohilla Pathans, while the far-sighted Rajputs of the area managed to shift to the nearby towns and cities not only to save their life but also career of their kids who might turn reactionary after growing young. They also invested their money in different kinds of business and got their sons and daughters modern contemporary education. On the contrary, Pathans had no inkling into what was happening in the nearby forest and dismissed the movement as a flash in the pan. Their inflated ego always stood as a stumbling block in their way to success as well as progress. They clung firmly to the land they had inherited from their forefathers. Being ill-educated and careless of consequences, they took pride in being called "babu" and receiving "salam" from the illiterate rural folk.

The Naxal movement, however, targetted the Rajputs of the area. The killing of Vinod Singh of Bisrampure under Imamganj police station in the presence of a dozen passengers at Baltharwa under Imamganj police station sent the chill down the spine of the Rajput community. Though strong and well-connected, they realised Naxalites' numerical strength and did not challange their supremacy, while the Bhumihars in Jehanabad gave them a tough fight in which they lost heavily in terms of life.

Brother of Ashique Bari Khan of Nanai living at Sherghati
Politically conscious Rajputs immediately organised the Pathans of the area under the banner of the Sunlight Sena. They exhorted them to gang up against the Naxalites in order to protect life and property. They also provided a few hot-headed wayward Pathan youths with arms and ammunition to challange the organised Naxalites and thus turned their ire against them. Later, they witdrew themselves from the movement and left the gullible Pathans to fend for themselves. Consequently, they started eliminating Pathan landlords who had now two options – either to surrender before them or fight to the finish. Their arrogance prevented them from entering into any truce with the Naxalites. They broke, but did not bend. Regardless of consequences, they decided to fight against the organised strength and heavily-armed ultras and subsequently lost immensely both in terms of life and property. Around 265 Pathans were put to death in a brutal manner and also dispossessed of thousands of acres (approximately 6500) of fertile land.

Mozammil Khan, Ekhlaque Khan, Ashique Bari Khan and Sarwar Khan, to name a few, were eliminated. But their near and dear ones rested only when they bumped off their killers. Had the Rajputs stood by them, they would have finished off Naxalism from the entire Imamganj assembly segment.

Two dominant backward castes of the area – Koeries and Yadavs who called the shots in the outfit – occupied their maximum land and wantonly killed their youths, thanks to the overt and covert support of the Laloo-Rabri government. The situation came to such a pass that many families shifted to Sherghati, Gaya, Patna, Daltonganj, Ranchi and Delhi. The family of Ashique Bari Khan of Nanai under Pratapure polce station (now in Jharkhand) had to settle at Sherghati after his cold-blooded murder.

Naxalites targetted even those who were totally unconcerned with the movement. Syed Hasnat of Chak under Manatu police station alongwith his son was hacked to death on the pretext that he had a good reationship with the Bhishma Narain Singh family, whom the Naxalites intensely disliked. Mr. Hasnat himself was soft-spoken, gentle, courteous and compassionate and so were his brothers. He had not imagined even in his wildest dream that those whom he had fed with his hand and looked after like his own children would conspire against him and his family.

He never challanged the supremacy of Naxalies as well. After his murder, his entire family left Manatu and settled at several places like Gaya, Daltonganj and Delhi. His land was largely occupied by Yadavs, who have become today's zamindar with their numerical and political strength as well as the support of gun-weilding ultras of their caste. Later, caste clash led to the break-up of Naxalites, then called MCC (Maoist Communist Centre) and a faction known as RCC (Revolutionary Communist Centre) was formed by the Koeries who are far more shrewd than the Yadavs. Subsequently, a chain of murders of both castemen started.

Laloo Yadav did not act as a seasoned politician and shamelessly discriminated against Muslims in doling out ex-gratia payments. He was generous enough to give compensation to his castemen like Sahdeo Yadav alias Juwala of Tanrhwa under Pratapure police station, who was bumped off by the members of the Sunlight Sena and Baliram Yadav of Dobhi under the same police station, who was killed by Paswan. The then Gaya Member of Parliament Rajesh Kumar was held responsible for Baliram's murder by the Yadavs in Gaya, who was later eliminated by Naxlites in Imamganj during his election campaign in 2005.

Laloo Yadav himself airdashed to Sahdeo Yadav's village and anounced an ex-gratia payment for the near and dear ones of the deceased and gave a good amount of money for the marriage of his two daughters, but he never bothered to visit any village where a Muslim was murdered. Castigating Laloo Yadav for his discriminatory attitude, a local poet wrote, " Yadav martey lakhon patey roz ka aap akhbar dekhiye, Musalman, Harijan marker bhi ho jaten lachar dekhiye" (Yadav gets lacs of rupees after his death, but Muslims and Hrijans become helpless after death). Most of the kids of uprooted Pathan families are uneducated and doing menial jobs at different places. Not a single family got any compensation or any overnment job. Even Muslim ministers like Shakeel Ahmad Khan in Laloo-Rabri cabinet never made any sincere effort to get the Pathan widows compensation.

A few of the Pathan youth reportedly took to crime and ended up in jail. A vetran journalsit and social worker, S. Ahmad is of the view that if the government had extended financial support to the Pathan youth, they would have turned over a new leaf. Nitish government, of course, deserve kudos for what he has done for the victims of Bhagalpur riots, but it paid no heed to the plight and predicament of Muslim widows. Sikender Khan of village Baseta under Kothi police station, whose brother was also murdered by Naxalites said that they had lost all hope for compensation and justice.

[H. R. Ahmad is a Journalist based in Bihar. He is a Press Correspondent with Hindustan Times. He is also associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Bihar). He can be contacted at hafizruknuddin@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 26, 2011. Filed under , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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