| Students, police officers and administrative officials at Ambedkar Hostel in Ara. Picture by Manish Kumar Singh |
Patna, Sept. 6: Around 350 boarders at Ambedkar Hostel in Ara, reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes students, finally got compensation for the harassment they faced on the day former Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh “Mukhiya” was murdered.
Singh was shot dead in Ara, 60km west of Patna, on June 1. On that day, a group of his supporters attacked the hostel, vandalised the facility, looted the belongings of the inmates and assaulted them.
Since then, the students have been demanding compensation for their losses. On Tuesday, they learnt that a corpus had been allotted to the Bhojpur district administration and each of the 351 students affected would be provided with Rs 15,000.
As they had not received the money, they staged a protest at the office of the Bhojpur district magistrate.
On Wednesday, district welfare officer S.B. Mathur visited the hostel and provided cheques for Rs 15,000 to each of the students.
“So far, 200 residents of the hostel have been given cheques. The process is going on,” Ara Sadar sub-divisional officer Dharmesh Kumar told The Telegraph on Thursday.
He added that a proposal of Rs 89 lakh to carry out repairs at the hostel had been approved by the SC/ST welfare department and sent to the building construction department. “The security forces deployed at the hostel were withdrawn after the situation in the town cooled down. But instruction has been given to the local police station to continue regular patrolling in the area,” he added.
Most of the boarders have returned to the hostel. Those who were still in their villages rushed to Ara after news about the payment of compensation spread like wildfire. “I must thank the SC/ST commission and the human rights commission, whose intervention forced the state government to provide compensation,” said Raju Ram, a BA Part II student of Maharaja College, Ara.
Sabbir Khan, another student, said the payment of Rs 15,000 was like a drop in the ocean. “We lost everything. We have to start from the scratch. We have no books, no clothes and no shelter,” he said, adding that the government should take care of the boarders as they belonged to the lower strata of society.
The accused of Brahmeshwar Singh “Mukhiya” murder case, Prince Pandey has refused to polygraph and narco tests. The police had requested the court to conduct these tests.