Hooliganism and harassment of the passengers by local goons is nothing new in the railway corridors stretched across Bihar and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. Incidences of robbery, losing reserved seats/ berths to the ticketless intruders, physical assaults etc are very common and a more or less accepted ritual there. Many of us have undergone the harassment by miscreants while travelling through patches of Bihar and fortunately, today we are alive to narrate those individual experiences. But not everyone is as lucky… at least Pritam wasn’t; Pritam took on himself the misfortune of all of us and paid a very dear price… that of his life.
|The nation has erupted in protest against Pritam's murder|
But, even after a week since his lifeless body was recovered near a railway track in Naugachia, his brutal killers have not yet been arrested nor even identified. Authorities of the state did not seem to have found enough merit in the case to move their butts. For the GRP officials at Naugachia station or for that matter the local police force, this was just yet another case of murder in the town.
It didn’t seem to have made any difference to our honourable Railway Minister either. He shrugged off his responsibility by simply passing the buck to the state government. On the other hand, besides providing some initial lip services, the ruling party under Nitish Kumar in Bihar that does not leave a single opportunity to claim the State to be a reformed and crime free one post Lalu Prasad’s regime, kept blissfully mum about the whole issue.
However, thanks to the protests and pressure built from across the country and media’s active role to bring the matter to the forefront, Pritam’s bereaved family saw some hope to get justice. After repeated attempts, Pritam’s relatives’ requests and appeals were given a heed. The police authorities in Naugachia agreed to take some action and they had a series of meetings. But his relatives were taken by shock when they saw all those things were flashed in the local newspapers, including the police strategy of investigation. While it is understood that any developments in any such investigation should be kept under wraps till the case is closed, how come the local newspapers in Naugachia could flash the strategy of the investigation and developments even before there was any movement in the case? Does it mean Bihar police and local administration is trying to save the culprits… at least, the actions taken so far and body language of the Bihar DGP Mr. Abhay Anand indicates that. Despite shamelessly declaring on a national news channel, Mr. Abhay Anand’s claim of sharing a detailed report on the case with the DGP of Assam has not been acknowledged by Assam police yet.
|Protests have taken place in different parts of Assam, Delhi and some other cities|
At a time when the entire nation is demanding justice for Pritam’s death, they are trying to give this case an atrocious turn by drawing an imaginary connect between Prtiam’s death and another girl’s death whose body was found days later around the same locality. They even reportedly are trying to label Prtiam as mentally ill. Now this is what we call the height of disgust.
Coming back to our own Assam Government, it took them seven days’ mass agitation, demonstration and demands for CBI enquiry from all circuits to judge the enormity of the issue and come up with an official statement. Even our elected MLAs did not find this issue significant enough to bring up and debate in the assembly.
Is this what Pritam deserves after his death? Or his father, who devoted his life towards building a nation by grooming and nurturing young talents? At this age when he needed his son the most, to stand beside him… he is taking rounds of police stations and other judicial offices seeking justice for his son’s heart rendering death. Unfortunately to his dismay, most of his attempts have turned into futile exercises. Instead of nabbing the criminals who took away a bright talent from this world, administration is up in arms to malign the deceased’s image and make his death a disgraceful one. In such a juncture, if Pritam’s family is demanding the intervention of a specialized outfit, they obviously are not demanding anything unjust, when people have lost all hopes from the police, administration as well as the government.
We really don’t know if our faith on the system and the administration will ever be restored, but it is heartening to see people’s active participation seeking justice for Pritam. The role of the media from across the nation has been positive and very encouraging as well while making it a national issue, thereby building pressure on the concerned authorities. With the relentless protests and demands for justice to Pritam and his family being put forward by various students’ unions, NGOs and social activists from all across, we can hope for an early breakthrough in this case, and justice to prevail. At least, something with which Pritam can rest in peace.