| Opposition leaders protest at the Assembly in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The Treasury bench and the Opposition got into a war of words on Wednesday in the Assembly over Maoist activities in Bihar.
RJD legislators, led by former minister Ram Lakhan Ram Raman, raised the issue of the landmine explosion triggered by Maoists beneath a police SUV in Gaya on February 22 that killed eight persons, including a junior police officer and five constables.
He expressed concern over the law and order situation in the state and the growing Maoist violence.
Replying to the question, minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said the incident had nothing to do with the law and order situation in the state.
“Our police force is alert and I have statistics to prove that Naxalite violence has declined compared to the days of your (RJD) government,” the minister said.
To this, Leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui sarcastically told the minister that the police was “indeed” more alert during the NDA regime.
“Your police was so alert that 22 witnesses turned hostile in the case related to the murder of superintendent of police-rank officer K.C. Surendra Babu (Maoists killed the Munger SP in 2005). All the accused went scott free,” Siddiqui said.
The minister replied that Siddiqui was referring to a single case and he would debate it in the House. “We have conducted speedy trials against Maoists and also got them convicted,” Choudhary said.
He added that 15 of the 38 districts were Naxalite-hit and the state government has made adequate arrangements to tackle the Maoists in the districts.
Speaking about the Gaya incident, Choudhary said Maoists exploded the landmine, while the police force was returning from Madanpur village, where the selection of Anganwadi workers was scheduled to take place.
“Since February 22, a deputy inspector-general-rank officer is supervising the case and a special task force has been formed under the senior SP of Gaya to nab the culprits. Two rebels — Sudhir Kumar Bhuiya and Anil Yadav — have been arrested and are being interrogated,” the minister said. He added that the families of the victims would be given Rs 10 lakh each by February 28.