In lawless Bihar, Jungle-raj returns to haunt again

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI file photo

One month after Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar in November 2015, two engineers were gunned down by armed assailants in Darbhanga.

The marauders used sophisticated weapons like AK-47 to kill the engineers who failed to cough up extortion money sought by the dreaded gangster Santosh Jha.

The BJP, then in the Opposition, shouted from the roof-top about the “return of Jungle-raj” barely a month after the Mahagatbandhan (Grand Alliance) was voted to power.

Now with the BJP enjoying the fruits of power in Nitish regime, the same Santosh Jha was gunned down on the court premises in Sitamarhi on August 28 (Tuesday) when he was being produced in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM).

A 19-year-old assailant shot the gangster twice: once in his chest and then in his head – before escaping from the court premises. The 11 security personnel, escorting Santosh, surprisingly did not open fire to challenge the killer.

Crime against women

The murder took place on a day when a video went viral here in which seven youths could be seen molesting a schoolgirl in Saharsa. The girl could be seen pleading for mercy and help but all her pleas fell on deaf ears.

This video comes barely two days after a similar video from Gaya went viral in which a woman is being molested.

Even earlier, three cases of similar crime against women were reported from Jehanabad. The most horrifying incident was, however, from neighbouring Gaya (barely 50 kms from Jehanabad) where a woman was raped in front of her husband in May this year.

The Bihar police data shows that crime against women has increased in Bihar by more than 100 per cent. “Bihar recorded 74 cases of rape in January which rose up to 170 in June this year,” said the police source.

The Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case has further sullied Bihar’s image. But as the law and order has gone from bad to worse, the same BJP leaders have now maintained a stoic silence on ‘Jungle raj’, a term first used by Patna High Court in the 90s during the Lalu-Rabri era.

The BJP’s ruling partner - the JD (U), of course, made a feeble attempt to defend the Chief Minister. “One cannot stop crime completely. But it’s equally true that in Nitish raj, police promptly takes action against the culprits. In Saharsa case of molestation, two of the five accused have been arrested. Others too will be apprehended soon,” said JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.

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In lawless Bihar, Jungle-raj returns to haunt again

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