| Sunil Chhaila Bihari (centre) on hunger strike at Dhamara Ghat railway station. Picture by Mohan Mahato |
A Bhojpuri singer has launched an indefinite hunger strike to demand road connectivity in Khagaria district in the wake of the Dhamara Ghat tragedy.
Sunil Chhaila Bihari, the artiste who shot to fame with his Pyar ke Bukhar album in 1996, launched his strike at the Dhamara Ghat railway station on Thursday. The state wing of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is supporting the singer. Eight party members, including its Mithlanchal in-charge Victor Jha, are also accompanying him in his indefinite strike.
Among the demands the 45-year-old has put forward to the state government and the railways, are the construction of a road between the Kopadia railway station in Saharsa district and Badla Ghat railway station in Khagaria district and conversion of the Dhamara Ghat railway station into a model station.
The party members have demanded a 13km road parallel to the railway track between Kopadia railway station and Badla Ghat railway station, development of the Kattyani temple into a national tourist spot, conversion of the Dhamara Ghat railway station into a model station and construction of a railway rake point (rake goods shed) at the station.
They have demanded all trains that pass through the Dhamara Ghat railway station to stop there. Bihari has also called for chief minister Nitish Kumar to visit the bereaved families and announce compensation up to Rs 10 lakh each to the family of the deceased. The strike would continue until the demands are met, the protesters said.
He targeted Nitish and called him insensitive towards all the accidents and tragedies that have occurred in the state recently. “Nitish visited Mumbai to meet Governor D.Y. Patil but not the Dhamara Ghat accident victims or the family of the deceased in Khagaria. He is afraid to face the veracity of his development near the Dhamara Ghat area while he claims to be Vikas Purush,” Bihari told The Telegraph.
He added: “Nitish has not extended his sympathy yet to any of the victims in the state — either of Forbesganj police firing, the midday meal tragedy in Saran, police firing in Bagaha or the run-over tragedy at the Dhamara Ghat railway station. We will continue our hunger strike till Nitish visits the bereaved family and the accident site. We do not want any announcements but only laying of the foundation for the construction of road between Kopadia and Badla Ghat.”
Bihari’s works after his 1996-hit album included Hum hai Chhaila Bihari — after which he named himself Chhaila Bihari, Doliya Kahaar (on marriage songs) and Bihar Nahin Sudhri (on the bifurcation of Bihar).
The artiste also alleged he was threatened before launching the strike. “I got a call on my cellphone at 2.22pm on Thursday from another mobile phone number when I was on my way to start the hunger strike. The caller threatened to kill me if I went ahead with my hunger strike. I lodged an FIR at the Mansi government railway police station but the police did not make any arrangement for my security during the hunger strike.”