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Jawan fights for honour on home turf

Parwej AlamParwej Alam

Patna, June 30: A soldier is fighting a battle of a different kind on his home turf.

Md. Parwej Alam, 27, who is posted as lance naik in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has been engaged in a struggle for the past year-and-a-half to get justice for his family members who are at the receiving end for speaking out against molesters in the locality.

Alam met director-general of police (DGP) Abhayanand last week and handed over a petition giving a detailed description of the incident that took place involving his family members who stay at Babura village under Dhankund police outpost in Banka district, about 280km east of Patna. “The situation has come to such a pass that girls have stopped attending classes in the local government school due to apprehension of either being kidnapped or molested by the anti-socials,” he said.

Alam said a girl from his family was kidnapped and misbehaved with while she was returning home from school in May. A complaint was lodged by the girl’s family at Dhankund police outpost (case no.55/2012) but no action was taken.

“This is the fourth such incident in the village in the past one-and-a-half years. Two other girl students of the village also fell victim to their molestation attempts,” Alam’s petition said, adding that every time cases were lodged against the tormentors, action eluded the victims’ families.

The lance naik, who too was once beaten up for protesting against the misdeeds of the goons, said the police failed to take action against the tormentors as they enjoyed political clout and even had close links with those involved in circulation of counterfeit Indian currency notes.

The trauma for the family started in 2010. Narrating his tale of woes, Alam said his sister Samida Khatoon’s six-year old son was killed by the goons in 2010. A complaint was lodged against one Md. Afroj by Ruby Khatoon for trying to forcibly enter her house on October 10, 2011, and outrage her modesty.

She was, however, saved by her mother Bibi Afsana and father Md. Noor Uddin, who reached there after hearing her cries for help. Afroj was caught by the victim’s family, tied with a rope and confined in a room.

Agitated over his detention, Afroj’s relatives, identified as Md. Zafar and Manowar Hussain, reached the spot and opened fire in the air. “They also threatened the victim’s family with dire consequences if they reported the matter to the police. They also took away Afroj with them,” Alam said. He added thatthe goons then targeted young girls of his family. Several girls were harassed by the group comprising Manowar, Nehal, Afroj, Zafar, Shamshad, Numan, Mehtab and Mehmood.

“The traumatised girls had written separate letters to the DGP, Banka district magistrate and the superintendent of police seeking protection from the goons in March 2010. I too wrote letters to senior police officers to draw their attention towards the plight of the girls. But nothing happened,” he added.

Tired of writing letters to the police and administrative officials, Alam later sought the intervention of the army headquarters. Taking note of Alam’s petition, Colonel Rajesh Singh of the Jharkhand and Bihar sub area, Danapur cantonment, shot off a letter to the Bihar DGP on April 20, 2012, seeking his personal intervention in the matter.

Earlier, J. Roy Chowdhary, under secretary in the Union ministry of defence, wrote letters to the Bihar DGP and Banka SP asking them to look into Alam’s complaint. Lt. Col Rhitik Lahiri, Lt Col M.A. Khan and Colonel A.K. Singh also wrote letters to draw the attention of the police officials of the state towards the plight of a soldier’s family.

“My sister appeared at the chief minister’s janata darbar thrice but that too failed to wake the police officials from their slumber,” Alam said.

Banka superintendent of police Vikas Berman said the jawan had met him and requested action in the case. “While the prime accused Afroj is in jail, others are on bail. The property of the accused was attached on the directive of the court,” he said.

Berman said the armyman has an old dispute over land with some co-villagers. “Whenever he comes to his native village (on leave), he submits a fresh plea making fresh allegation against the accused. I want to assure him (Alam) that action would be taken against the accused if the allegations are found true,” he said.