Monday, November 04, 2002

Tension in Gaya villages after Dalit killings

ABDUL QADIR

GAYA: Caste tension grips several villages of the Fatehpur police station area of the district as the bodies of the two Dalits kidnapped from the Burh Manjui village on Friday night are yet to be recovered.

Though a case against 10 Yadavas of the area and 20 other unnamed persons have been instituted in this connection, no arrests have so far been made. According to police sources, all the four kidnapped family members of Devan Paswan have been killed and the chances of their being alive are rated almost nil.

Former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan is expected to reach Gaya to participate in the funeral of the two women whose bodies were fished out from a well in village Nidani under the Mohanpur police station area, three-kms to the south of the village Burh Manjui. As many as four family members of Devan Paswan, an LJP activist and petty contractor of the area, are feared to have been killed after being kidnapped from their village home.

As massive search goes on for the recovery of the bodies of Paryag Paswan and Savita Devi, irate Dalits await the arrival of Ram Vilas Paswan. The bodies recovered from a well near village Nidani have been identified as that of Batashi Devi and Kaushalya Devi, wife and mother respectively of the LJP activist Devan Paswan. The kidnapping and subsequent killings have once again opened the wounds of the Ramjee Yadav murder case, in which the Tenkuppa block pramukh Ramjee Yadav was killed in a running train a few months back. Fatehpur RJD MLA Shyam Deo Paswan was accused of being involved in the killing of Ranjee Yadav.

Though there appears to be no direct relationship between the earlier killing of Ramjee Yadav, the tenkuppa block pramukh and the killing of the Dalits in the same area, the two incidents have caused further strain in the Dalit-Yadav relations in the district, Reports reaching the district headquarters in Gaya say that Devan Paswan, whose father, mother, wife and sister in-law were kidnapped and subsequently killed, was engaged in a supremacy battle with his co-villagers led by Ghanpat Yadav and Kuldip Yadav. Only a few days back, Devan was allegedly threatened by Ghanpat Yadav.

The dispute over the quality of the community hall built by Devan Paswan from the Local Area Development Fund of the former Fatehpur MLA Ram Naresh Paswan was also held against Devan Paswan by his local rivals.

Meanwhile, two young men were gunned down in the Konch police station area of Gaya district on Sunday morning. The killed men have been identified as Arjun Singh and Karoo Paswan. A case against five persons has been instituted in this connection. But no arrests have so far been made.

Source: The Times of India, November 4, 2002

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