| Rabri Devi
New Delhi, Dec. 31: The death of three youths in Patna has snowballed into a controversy with the BJP and the Samata Party alleging that they were murdered by police and demanding the resignation of the Rabri Devi government and the immediate arrest of the guilty policemen.
Calling for the inclusion of the names of the guilty policemen in the FIR, the Samata Party announced a “Jan Sangharsh Morcha” to agitate against the “jungle raj” of the Rashtriya Janata Dal government in Patna. The party also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the victims’ families.
While the BJP has demanded the immediate dismissal of the Rabri Devi government, the Samata Party said she should quit on moral grounds. The party appealed to the Congress to withdraw support to the Bihar government. “If they (the Congress) have any sense of shame left, they should withdraw from (the) Rabri government,” said Shambhu Shrivastwa, spokesman of the Samata Party.
“We demand the immediate dismissal of the Rabri Devi government and action against the police officers responsible for the death of the three youths in police firing. The youths belonged to the BJP,” party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters here.
Shrivastwa said the victims — Prashant Kumar, Himanshu Yadav and Vikas Gupta — had no criminal background as alleged by the police. He asked how they could be considered criminals overnight after being given character certificates by the Shastrinagar (Patna) police on Friday.
Prashant, who had joined the merchant navy, was the son of an Allahabad Bank manager while Himanshu, whose engineer-father had recently died of cancer, had been given a job in the public works department on compassionate grounds. Vikas Gupta was a leader of the BJP Yuva Morcha.
Giving his version of the incident, Shrivastwa said Prashant and Yadav were beaten up by a telephone-booth operator, Gautam Singh, after they had an altercation with him on over-billing. The youth, he said, left after issuing threats of getting even. They returned in the evening with Vikas.
Gautam called his friend, the Shastrinagar deputy superintendent of police, and told him that some criminals had come to attack him. The DSP brought a force, closed the shutters behind them and shot the youth from point blank range, the Samata leader alleged, quoting eyewitnesses. He said Vikas’ father, Jagdish Prasad Gupta, is known to Laloo Prasad Yadav and called on the RJD chief for justice.