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September 2016: Out of jail after 11 years
The Times of India, September 11, 2016
Shahabuddin walks out of jail after 11 yrs, takes on CM
RJD president Lalu Prasad's protege Mohd Shahabuddin, who was seen as a “symbol of lawlessness“ during the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule in Bihar, walked free out of Bhagalpur jail to a tumultuous welcome by a huge throng of his supporters and marked the end of his 11year captivity by immediately taking a dig at chief minister Nitish Kumar by describing him as “paristhitiyon ke mukhyamantri (accidental CM due to circumstances)“.
“I don't consider him (Nitish) as my leader. I never worked under him in the past, nor working in the present, and will not work in future,“ Shahabuddin said just before his cavalcade comprising at least 400 SUVs left for his bastion of Siwan. The long spell behind bars had interrupted a long period of influence and prominence when his writ ran over Siwan and adjoining districts and he became a factor in Lalu Prasad's political scheme.
His imprisonment and subsequent conviction followed the defeat of RJD in 2005 elections and were seen as symbolising Nitish's attempt to the lawlessness which defined Lalu-Rabri raj. His release follows the alliance between Lalu and Nitish with opponents alleging that it's part of the deal between the two Mandal leaders.
Shahabuddin's statement, however, showed he owes no gratitude to Nitish for his walk into freedom as he proclaimed Lalu to be his sole leader. However, for the thousands who had gathered outside Bhagalpur Central Jail to fete the man who was once seen as the `Subedar of Siwan', it was `Shahabu' or `Sahib' who seemed to matter.
They hailed him as `Bhagwan', dismissing the litany of charges of heinous crimes against him as conspiracy of political opponents and broke into spontaneous jigs.
Named in at least 39 cases and acquitted in 20 of them, Shahabuddin once spelt terror in Bihar. Among many charges, he was accused of involvement in the murder of the then JNUSU president Chandras hekhar in March 1997 for the latter's audacity to campaign for CPI(ML)'s candidate against him in Siwan. He was also awarded life term in a twin murder case which pertained to burning two brothers alive by pouring acid on them.
After his release, Shahabuddin declared with elan that he won't be changing his image now that “I am a free man“. He asked, “Why should I change my image? The people of Bihar have accepted me as I am.“
That the RJDhas not distanced from the Siwan strongman was more than evident with even RJD MP Shailesh Kumar alias Bulo Mandal lining up outside the jail to receive him.