Siwan, Aug. 13: Mohammad Shahabuddin has been sent to jail for abducting and killing Munna Chowdhary, but the mother of the CPI-ML activist is not convinced that he is dead.
“Kaun kahata hai mera Munna gujar gaya' Woh wapas ayega. (Who says my son has passed away' He is alive and will come back.),” said 53-year-old Champa, clutching a driving licence with a passport-size photograph of her son.
“Aap photo dekhiye, kitna jawan tha. Woh kaise mar sakta hai (Look at his photo, he was so young. How can he die')” she pleaded with reporters who visited her house at Chotepur, a village, five km from Siwan town.
Munna’s family is one of the few Yadav households that have been ardent supporters of the CPI-ML (Liberation) since Naxalite leader Vinod Mishra organised them against the exploitative upper castes. “We still stand for the CPI-ML and that cost us a lot,” said Manav Chowdhary, Munna’s relative.
Police said Munna was abducted from his house by five men on January 6, 2001. He was allegedly shoved into a car in which Shahabuddin was sitting. When he did not return till January 21, his relatives filed an FIR with the police.
Munna never returned. Police investigations have indicated that after he was taken away, he had an argument with the MP. When he refused to obey his dictates, he was taken to a brick kiln and thrown into the furnace.
“The brutality with which this 24-year-old was killed is a signature murder of the gangs who allegedly enjoy the patronage of the MP,” said a CPI-ML office-bearer in Siwan.
This is another case on the long list of political killings in Siwan, but is costing the MP dear due to its caste implications. Munna was a Yadav, though of another party, who bore the brunt of Shahabuddin’s political insecurity. The killing of Yadavs drove a wedge through the Muslim-Yadav combination, the mainstay of Laloo Prasad Yadav’s votebank.
“The Yadav caste leaders have been informing Laloo Yadav about the atrocities perpetrated on Yadav villages and the outcry against Shahabuddin was to bring him back to his senses,” said a leader close to Abadh Bihari Chowdhary, a minister in the Rabri Devi government who has been fighting a running battle with Shahabuddin.
He reign of terror unleashed by the notorious MP was clear when villagers mobbed the unknown group of journalists and demanded to know whether they were Muslims.
“We don’t trust anyone,” said the village chief, forcing everyone to show their identity cards.