Mukhiya dies outlaw's death
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- Published 2.06.12
Ara (Bhojpur), June 1: The man who lived by the gun today died by it.
Brahmeshwar Singh “Mukhiya”, the chief of the now defunct private militia Ranvir Sena and whose name once spelled terror for Dalit families, was shot dead at the crack of dawn when he was taking his ritual morning walk in an alley near his house.
The 65-year-old Mukhiya, whose army of private landlords was involved in at least 29 incidents of massacres of Dalits in the nineties, died on the spot.
The killing touched off a wave of violence across Ara as supporters of Mukhiya attacked government buildings, including the circuit house, torched vehicles and pelted stones at passing trains, among them the Rajdhani Express, one whose window panes was smashed.
Senior officials, including director-general of police Abhyanand, were heckled when they tried to pacify the rampaging mob.
Mukhiya was released on bail last July after spending nine years in jail. Though Mukhiya was made accused in 22 cases, he was acquitted in 17 for want of evidence. In April this year, he was acquitted in the Bathani Tola massacre in which 21 Dalits were butchered by the Ranvir Sena in 1996. Mukhiya had always maintained he was falsely implicated in the cases, famously asking, “Do I look like a murderer?” upon his release from Ara jail last year.
The most important case in which Mukhiya was facing trial pertained to the most chilling massacre perpetrated by the Ranvir Sena at Laxmanpur Bathe village in Jehanabad district on December 1, 1997, in which 61 Dalits were killed.
Ever since his release from jail, Mukhiya was staying with his youngest son Indubhushan Singh — who was away in Varanasi on work — at Katira locality of Ara town, 65km west of Patna.
Like everyday, Mukhiya left home around 4.15am for his morning stroll along L.M. Roy Lane, a 20-foot pathway about 200 metres from his residence. As he was walking, a group of assailants, who were possibly hiding in the area, pumped three bullets into Mukhiya around 4.20am.
The site of the murder is about 600 metres from the Nawada police station and also adjacent to the official residence of the superintendent of police.
As news of the killing spread, hundreds of Mukhiya’s supporters went on the rampage, attacking government buildings, including the circuit house and the offices of the Bihar Education Project and the Sadar primary health centre. The circuit house, which was being spruced up for the chief minister’s Seva Yatra beginning next week, bore the brunt of the people’s ire.
Two MLAs of the district — Narendra Kumar Pandey alias Sunil Pandey of the JD(U) and Sanjay Singh Tiger of the BJP — were roughed up by the Mukhiya’s supporters. Pandey was confined to a room for a few hours.
Another group of supporters went to the Ara railway station and pelted stones on at least eight trains passing by. A passenger travelling on the Rajdhani Express, Ravi Prakash, said one of his fellow travellers in B-4 coach sustained injuries in the attack.
The protesters set on fire at least six vehicles, including an ambulance, on the premises of the Ara circle office and the primary health centre. The protesters forced shops and business establishments to down shutters, ensuring a second day of shutdown for residents following yesterday’s Bharat Bandh.
Bhojpur district magistrate Pratima S. Verma clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CRPC. Anti-riot vehicles were pressed into service and additional forces were sent from Patna and Rohtas districts to bring the situation under control.
The dingdong battle between the slain Mukhiya’s supporters and the security personnel continued till 12.30pm.
DGP Abhayanand said a five-member special investigation team, headed by deputy inspector-general (Shahabad range) Ajitabh Kumar, would probe the case.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar said the murder would be investigated. “I appeal to the people to maintain peace. Those responsible will be punished,” he said.