Ara, Bihar

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1989 massacre

Ex-DM puts 1989 Ara blood spill in black and white The Times of India Raj Kumar,TNN | Oct 25, 2014

PATNA: Rameshwar Prasad was the country's first 'Naxalite' to be elected to the Lok Sabha - from Bihar's Ara parliamentary constituency in 1989. The election saw Naxalites shooting five upper caste men who allegedly tried to grab polling booths. The daylight killings were avenged the same night with upper caste men massacring many dalit men and women at Danwar-Bihta village. Twenty-five years on, the then Ara DM has put it on record and brings to light how the Congress government of the day patronized and protected the massacre mastermind because of caste considerations.

"The magistrates and police officers (deputed in the village in the wake of five killings) were treated to a feast at night by Jwala Singh (Tarari block pramukh) and his castemen. Then they organized a systematic massacre," writes M A Ibrahimi in 'My Experience In Governance'. The 220-page book was released by chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in 2014.

The exact number of victims could never be known as the hacked bodies were alleged to have been thrown into the Sone and police did not make any bid to fish them out.

Ibrahimi, a 1978-batch IAS officer who retired in 2012, rues the massacre took place despite the presence of forces, including BSF, who did not fire a single round. "The BSF officer told me when he heard noise and cries (of people) in the night, he contacted the SDPO, only to be told to relax as everything was normal," the writer says and adds the SDPO was of the same upper caste to which the massacre accused belonged.

When this SDPO was sent to Piro ahead of the 1989 LS election, Ibrahimi was worried that the cop, on the verge of retirement, would prove a "disaster" in a Naxal-affected area. He, along with the SP, met every top officer and apprised them of his fears. "But they were more concerned about protecting their chairs as the CM and the SDPO were of same caste," he writes and adds that he and the SP jointly sent a protest letter to the state home secretary and the DGP but to no avail.

The then Ara DM writes days after the carnage he wanted to arrest the SDPO, but the SP was hesitant. "The SP and I wanted to arrest Jwala Singh, but he was (by then) rumoured to be taking shelter in the chief minister's house," Ibrahimi writes and adds Jwala Singh was such a powerful man that soon after the massacre he was ordered by an IAS official posted in the CM's house to provide security to him and his family.

The district administration attached Jwala Singh's property "against the advice of higher-ups". "After the election was over, the first thing the CM did was to transfer us (the DM and the SP)," Ibrahimi writes and regrets that had Jwala Singh been arrested, Naxalites would not have avenged the massacre by shooting him in an ambush a few years later.

Late Jwala Singh's son Bijay Singh, a medical professional at Ara, trashes the "revelation". "My father was politically strong and that's why Naxalites targeted him," he told this newspaper on Friday and added his father never killed a cat let alone so many human beings.

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