Masters in crime bask in doctoral glory from four walls of prison

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  • Published 8.07.12

Patna, July 7: Trigger-happy once, diligent students now. The Bihar government’s bid to keep don-turned-politicians, and other hardened criminals, under the noose is producing researchers and authors in prison.

While a few are writing books and poems, others have enrolled in various academic institutions to pursue higher education.

The latest to “excel” from the four walls of prison in the world of education is Vijay Kumar Shukla, alias Munna Shukla, a former JD(U) MLA from Lalganj in Vaishali district. Shukla, who is serving life term in the killing of IAS officer and former Gopalganj district magistrate G. Krishnaia, was yesterday awarded PhD degree from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur.

The man who always talked in the language of guns has obtained his PhD for his thesis, Rajnitik Chetna ki Abhivyakti (expression of political consciousness).

He did his research under the guidance of professor Devnandan Prasad, a senior teacher in the department of Hindi, Rameshwar Singh College, Muzaffarpur. He appeared at viva voce at a guest house instead of the department.

Shukla, in his forties, the younger brother of dreaded underworld dons of yesteryears of north Bihar Chhotan Shukla and Bhutkun Shukla, who ruled the roost for almost two decades, was released on parole from Shaheed Jubba Sahni Central Jail in Bhagalpur for appearing in the examination.

Vice-chancellor of the university Bimal Kumar and pro-vice-chancellor Padmasha Jha were among dignitaries present on the occasion.

Overwhelmed after getting the degree, Shukla said he felt a great difference in today’s and yesteryears’ political thinking. “While the political leaders of yesteryears were torch bearers of society in the true sense of the term, enjoyed mass support and commanded respect in society for their good deeds, today’s politicians lacked mass support and people are hired to show the strength (support) at public meetings or rallies,” he added.

Shukla is not an isolated case. Earlier, Narendra Kumar Pandey, alias Sunil Pandey, the JD(U) MLA from Tarari in Bhojpur district, obtained PhD from Veer Kuer Singh University for his research Mahavir ke Updesh Adhunik Paripeksha Mein (Mahavir’s teachings in modern context). Pandey, in his fifties, was convicted and awarded life sentence in the abduction case of Patna-based neurosurgeon Dr Ramesh Chandra in 2003. Pandey was released from jail in 2011 after he moved Patna High Court against the verdict of a lower court. Facing charges of kidnapping and extortion, Pandey is at present busy writing a book.

Former RJD MP from Purnea Pappu Yadav, 45, earned a post-graduation degree in sociology from Nalanda Open University, Patna, recently. These days, he is keeping himself busy writing a book in Beur Central Jail, Patna. The book, Dus Juta Maar Lo Lekin Bahubali Mat Bolo (Hit me with your shoe but don’t call me bahubali), is an attempt by him to get rid of his tarnished image. Yadav had earlier earned a graduation degree in human rights and disaster management from Indira Gandhi National Open University when he was in Tihar Jail, New Delhi. A four-time Lok Sabha MP, Yadav is presently serving life sentence for the murder of CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar. The leader was gunned down in June 1998 in Purnea district.

A four-time MP from Siwan and two-time MLA, Mohammed Shahabuddin, in his late forties, is allegedly involved in 42 cases, including murder and kidnapping, and is serving a life sentence since August 13, 2003. Popularly called Saheb in Siwan, Shahabuddin had hit the headlines when he obtained PhD from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University for his research work, Era of Coalition Government, in 2005.

Presently lodged in a Saharsa jail, Anand Mohan Singh, a former Lok Sabha member from Sheohar, has realised that the pen is mightier than the gun. The former strongman has penned an anthology of poems titled Qaid Mein Azad Kalam (Pen is free behind bars). The book was released on January 23, 2011, in New Delhi to commemorate the birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose. Anand, the founder of Bihar People’s Party and also a JD(U) member, was sentenced to death on October 3, 2007 by a trial court for the 1994 lynching of Gopalganj district magistrate G. Krishnaia.

It is more because of the state police headquarters’ effort to get bail of dreaded criminals rejected by the high court that several don-turned-politicians have given up their earlier career plans and have turned to academics. Director-general of police Abhayanand told reporters in Patna that the move was aimed at tightening the noose around the anti-socials indulging in criminal offences after being released on bail. JD (U) MLA Anant Kumar Singh’s case is an exception. Facing charges of murder and kidnapping, the Mokama strongman is fond of horse riding and keeping wild animals at home.