Girls live daddy's dream - Krishnaiah family ready for service to society

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By NALIN VERMA
  • Published 12.07.12
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Patna, July 11: During his short tenure as IAS officer before he was mercilessly killed by Bihar’s lynch gangsters, G. Krishnaiah had made a name by reaching out to the poor. Today, after a long struggle to cope with the tragic loss, his wife Uma Krishnaiah wants her two daughters to live their father’s dreams.

Her elder daughter Niharika appeared for the civil services exam this year. “My mother has taught us about our father’s ideals. He had a zeal for serving the poor. I simply want to complete what my father’s abrupt death stopped him from doing,” engineering graduate Niharika, 24, told The Telegraph over phone from Hyderabad.

Her younger sibling Padma, 22, has, like her father, a degree in English. She also has a degree in mass communication and is at present working with a private company in the Andhra Pradesh capital.

The two young girls live with their mother, a lecturer in chemistry at the Government Degree College for Women in Begumpet, in their home at Prasashan Nagar on Jubilee Hills.

The Supreme Court verdict yesterday brought the curtains down on the murder case that had gone through many twists and turns. The apex court upheld the Patna High Court judgment reducing the death penalty awarded to prime accused Anand Mohan to life imprisonment.

Krishnaiah, who was only 35 at the time of his death, was the district magistrate of Gopalganj when he was lynched and shot by a mob that had taken out the funeral procession of a local gangster, Chhotan Shukla, at Khabra village in Muzaffarpur. Chhotan was a candidate of the now defunct Bihar People’s Party (BPP) for the Assembly elections that was coming up in 1995. Anand Mohan and his wife Lovely Anand were the leaders of the BPP. Eyewitness accounts suggested that Mohan had instigated the mob to attack the IAS officer, who was shot by Bhutkan Shukla, the brother of Chhotan Shukla. Bhutkan was later slain in a gang war.

Krishnaiah had gone to Hajipur for an official meeting and was returning to Gopalganj when he got caught in the mob fury.

Anand Mohan was handed out the death penalty by the trial court, but the high court reduced the punishment to life in prison, a verdict upheld yesterday by the top court.

Uma Krishnaiah is not satisfied by the final verdict. “Why has punishment been handed out to only one person when a mob of several armed men lynched my husband for no fault of his? All the culprits involved should have been sent to the gallows. Only then would justice appear to have been done,” said Uma.

For Uma — who was in her early thirties when she lost her husband — the final verdict does not amount to even a “consolation” when weighed against the damage done. “The assailants have got everything in their life — money, power, clout. Even the lone man convicted might come out on parole to enjoy life with his family and exploit his clout. What will we get,” she asked.

Though she works as lecturer in an Andhra government college, Uma gets the salary and perks on a par with what her slain husband would have been drawing currently. She gets payment from the Bihar government as part of the state’s commitment to keep paying her a salary equivalent to what her husband would have got till his scheduled retirement in 2018. Her job too is a part of the compensation package that the two governments worked out.

“Life became a byword of unending struggle and pain for me after my husband’s death. Money can hardly compensate for what we underwent. Still, I have taught my children to live by the ideals their father lived for. I have taught them to study well and help the needy people the way their father did,” said Uma.

She has no complaints either with the Bihar government or with the people of the state. “The government has done everything that it could have done for me and my children. They paid us compensation and took care of us. Many IAS and IPS officials still stay in touch with us. We lived in Bettiah, Harazibagh, Gopalganj and other places with my husband. The people too were quite nice and affable,” Uma said. “I am not one to blame a society or the government for what a few insane and cruel people did to us.”

It was in these places that Krishnaiah, a 1985 batch officer, cut his teeth as an able administrator. He was known for his tough handling of criminals and also for his compassion for the deprived sections — Krishnaiah came from a humble background and was the first from his village to clear school and get higher education.

Bihar IAS officer Afzal Amanullah, who, as principal secretary, home, had pleaded for enhancement of Anand Mohan’s life term to death sentence, said the state government had tried its best to ensure justice was meted out. “We did whatever we could have from the prosecution side in the case,” said Amanullah, who was the president of the IAS Officers’ Association at the time of Krishnaiah’s murder.

Patna divisional commissioner K.P. Ramaiah, also an IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, recalled his association with Krishnaiah, fondly called “GK” by friends. “He got into the IAS a year ahead of me. When I was allotted the Bihar cadre in 1986, GK was the first person I approached for guidance. He always advised us to learn Hindi — a bit difficult for people from Andhra Pradesh — and enjoy the work,” said Ramaiah.