Remember the Right to Information (RTI) activist Bipin Agarwal, a resident of Motihari town of the East Champaran district of Bihar, who was shot dead on 24th September in broad daylight on a busy road, by two assailants astride a motorcycle? He was allegedly killed because of his incessant exposure of illegal encroachment by influential people on government land and other corruption issues!
In a note recently written in his own handwriting to the superintendent of police, Motihari, the slain activist’s eight-year-old son says: “Since, till date there has not been a single arrest, there seems no hope of justice for my father who was brutally murdered. And due to the alleged nexus between the police and the criminals, we are running from pillar to post for the last three months and haven’t obtained even his death certificate. This is frustrating us. It looks like senior police officers are not on the side of the affected family of the victim. Since no one is lending us an ear, I am compelled to go on fast in front of my house from 21st December.”
And, indeed, Rohit has begun his fast since morning in front of his house, gathering sympathy and support of many citizens. When Moneylife contacted him, he stated, “My father was brutally killed and no one is arresting the culprits. I’m going to sit on fast till the chief minister comes to meet me and give me an assurance.’’
Rohit’s visibly disturbed 70-year-old grandfather Vijay Agarwal, says, “The kid is so angry and frustrated over the killers still being at large. The murder of my son is clearly an administrative and political murder, which is why not a single arrest has been made so far. They are yet to make an arrest. Even in 2020 some goons had attacked our house. Clearly, the goons, with the active protection of the powers-that-be, are going scot free while we are suffering immensely, emotionally and financially.”
When asked whether he is even hopeful if the chief minister (CM) will visit his house, which is the desire of his grandson Rohit, the grandfather, Vijay Agrawal says, “After all, he is a child. For him the most important thing is to arrest his father’s killers, hence he has made that statement.’’
Moneylife Impact: Main Accused Arrested Citizen and media pressure works!
Eight-year-old Rohit Agrawal who is on a dharna had written a letter on 12th December to various police officers to protest against no arrests in the case of his father's murder and harassment faced for procuring his father's death certificate. On 19th December, the family finally received the death certificate after nearly three months of Bipin Agarwal's murder.
Similarly, post the story in Moneylife on 21st December, Abhinav Dhiman, the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), who is investigating the case confirmed that, "the main accused Ajay Singh was arrested last night in a raid conducted by me with one weapon and fully loaded magazine. Altogether, five arrests have been made so far."
He further added, qualifying delay in taking action, that, "though in events like these its natural to pit the police in the forefront for inaction or maybe collusion; as law enforcers we also have to make sure that the innocent are not falsely implicated."
Young Rohit is finding means to meet the CM of Bihar. Meanwhile Aam Admi Party (AAP) while re-tweeting our story has asked its party workers in Bihar to help the boy.
Abhinav Dhiman, the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), who is investigating the case contests the claims of the Agrawal family. When contacted, he stated, “I think the family is not happy with the three arrests – the main three who were the shooters - which have been made. They want more people to be arrested which will happen soon. We are conducting further raids and necessary action is being taken.’’
Has he approached the family now that the eight-year child is sitting on fast? “Yes, we have informed the family about the progress of the case,” he says.
Narrating the reason why his son was killed, Vijay Agarwal, had earlier stated, “My son was a small-time businessman and would spend most of his money in his RTI activism. For the last 10-15 years, he had been doggedly pursuing RTI for bank scams, corruption in local bodies and mainly illegal encroachments by private individuals on large tracts of government land. He had also filed a petition in the High Court for which many encroachers had been served notices to vacate the lands. The hearing of the case is still going on. But now that he is gone and we will never get him back, I am worried about the future of his three sons, aged eight, 10 and 13 years old. I would appeal to the administration and the society to secure a good future by supporting their education. That is more important for me now than nabbing the criminals.” (Read: Slain RTI Activist’s Anguished Father More Interested in Securing the Future of His Son’s Children Than Nailing His Murderer)
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife and also the convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)