Madhubani’s grotesque tragedy: All’s Well That (F)ends Well
Patna,(BiharTimes): Ironically the news that Madhubani boy, Prashant Jha and his girl-friend Priety, were found in New Delhi came just after chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday conceded that the district administration and police erred in handling the situation. At the same time it came at the fag end of the opposition sponsored Bihar bandh (shutdown), which affected normal life at many places in the state.
No doubt, the two teenagers by their irresponsible––rather criminal––act played havoc with the people of Madhubani. They are to be blamed for the death of three more youths in subsequent violence and police firing and widespread destruction. What is more appalling is that the girl, the daughter of an officer posted in the district, fled from her home with Rs three lakh. They eloped as back as on Sep 7.
Though the chief minister said that Ant bhala to sab bhala (All’s Well That Ends Well) the truth is that some questions remained unanswered. Firstly the parents as well as the administration could not trace the two teenagers for about a month before a headless body was recovered. The body became the bone of contention for about 10 days as Prashant’s parents, especially the mother, claimed that it was his son’s. Earlier, Prashant Jha’s grandfather too was arrested in this incident.
Had the boy and girl been of different religious group or caste the incident might have turned much more uglier.
Though on Monday the Left parties gave a bandh call and other opposition like RJD and LJP backed it, the truth is that it was the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students’ wing of the ruling BJP, and NSUI, the students body of the Congress, which gave the bandh call on Friday (Oct 12), which sparked off large scale violence and death of two persons on that day.
Not only these students’ organizations, but friends of Prashant and family members were very much in the forefront of the protest. The parents might have been carried away by the emotion, but how come all the other people failed to recognize that the body is not of Prashant. The administration and police were (now they are proved right) repeatedly stating that the body is of a man in 20s. They cited the post mortem report to substantiate their point.
The two-day of violence in Madhubani has something to do with the overall surcharged atmosphere in the state for the last about a month. Ever since Sep 19 Adhikar Yatra of the chief minister people––not just para-teachers––were taking to streets on one pretext or the other. This happened even in Madhubani on Sep 23, where people showed shoes and chappals to the chief minister. On Sep 27 it reached a climax in Khagaria when Ranvir Yadav, the husband of Janata Dal (United) MLA, Poonam Devi, snatched the rifle from a policeman and opened fire to pave the way for the chief minister to arrive on the venue. The latter publicly complimented him.
As anger was palpable in the air the recovery of a headless body only worked as a spark. Hardly anyone in the town tried to cross-check the fact. As over the months, or say years, a general feeling has grown that bureaucrats and police have grown all too powerful in the present government nobody was ready to accept its version, even if it was right. In this case there was another angle: the girl was the daughter of an officer while Prashant was the son of a man engaged in vegetable business. So the mob, which never sees reason, reacted the way they did.
The political opponents always try to capitalize on such situation. But they came much later. So by just blaming them one can not shirk one’s responsibility.
The need of the hour is to pacify the general discontent among the people. Madhubani was no doubt a case of misplaced anger, but then the government needs to answer more than the opposition parties or the people of the town who took to streets on Friday and Saturday.
After all it was the state government which is responsible for the general discontent among the masses by taking some really ‘black’ measures all these days. Mob’s anger is always misplaced.