| Mohammad Kalam Ansari with his petition. Telegraph picture |
A labour contractor’s visit to the chief minister’s janata durbar to seek justice has endangered his life as well as that of his family members.
Mohammad Kalam Ansari, 26, a resident of Jehangirpur Basant village, Sarai, in Vaishali district, about 30km north of Patna, knocked on the door of 1 Aney Marg, the official residence of chief minister Nitish Kumar, on May 14 this year after goons demanded cut-money from him.
Nitish assured Ansari of looking into the matter and bringing the culprits to book at the earliest. Accordingly, Ansari’s petition was forwarded to Sarai police station. But instead of being scared, the goons turned aggressive. Around two weeks ago, they threatened Ansari and his family with dire consequences. “Initially, the goons were demanding extortion money. Now, they have threatened to eliminate my family and me,” a visibly upset Ansari told The Telegraph.
Ansari, who supplies labourers to the government and private agencies engaged in carrying out development work in the area, now repents his decision to visit the chief minister’s durbar. “The situation has worsened in the past two weeks. I have stopped visiting my site because of the threat from the extortionists,” he said. The contractor had no other option but to employ a munshi (assistant) to look after his work. “I am so scared that I hardly venture out of my house,” he said.
The extortionists allegedly visited Ansari’s house around two weeks ago and threatened his father Mohammad Halil Ansari (55) and mother Sajida Khatun (50) with dire consequences. “Ask your son to mend his ways or be ready to face consequences,” Ansari’s father quoted one of the extortionists as saying. The extortionist reportedly added: “Yahan hum jo chahenge wohi hoga (Here, things will move according to our wish).”
Ansari said: “We are at our wit’s end about whom to approach for justice now. If the raja (king) of Bihar (Nitish) can’t protect us, then who will?” Accusing local police officers of being hand-in-glove with the extortionists, he said the goons showed his parents the photocopy of the petition he submitted at the chief minister’s janata durbar. “If police officers don’t have connection with them (extortionists), how could the latter get a copy of my petition? The local thana (police station) might have passed it on to them,” he said.
The extortionists allegedly enjoy the patronage of a former minister and a local RJD leader, said to be close to the family that earlier ruled the state for 15 years. “Their political clout is well-known in the area,” he said.
Ansari’s petition, carrying the signatures of around 36 persons, accused Girbaldhari Rai, Ajay Rai, Lalit Rai, Dipnarain Rai and Ram Narain Rai of harassing him for the past several months.
Sarai police station house officer Ramesh Kumar said: “I am away from the police station right now. You call me when I am there.” Later, calls to Kumar’s cellphone went unanswered. Hajipur sub-divisional police officer Kailash Prasad said: “When the police station personnel follow the orders of superintendent of police (SP), there is no question of throwing the chief minister’s secretariat directive into the dustbin.”
Prasad, who assumed charge recently, suggested The Telegraph to ask the complainant to personally approach him. “If you have the complainant’s telephone number, then ask him to meet me personally,” he added.
Prasad did not bother to seek information from the police station, though.
Vaishali district magistrate Jitendra Srivastava and SP Upendra Sinha could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.