Ramashankar and Avinash, 4 December 2006, Hindustan Times, Patna.
Never before has Patna been so angry and on boil as on Monday. As seething anger born out of sheer anguish over the killing of Patna University Professor, Papiya Ghosh and her maid coursed through the city’s veins, people irrespective of their political affiliations, leanings or beliefs and drawn from all walks of life, stormed the city streets and protested like never before.
As they joined the Teachers and Students and the entire academia in deep mourning they also asked the obvious questions: If this can happen in Patna, what must be happening to other parts of Bihar? Why us? How long?
The State Police, shamed by the killing which occurred a stone’s through from the State Home Secretary, Afzal Amanullah’s Residence on Sunday, did take the unprecedented step of promptly announcing a reward for information leading to the culprits and promising a parallel CID inquiry into the twin murders which have shocked the city out.
But all indications on Monday were that a prominent politician of Patna with a criminal past was involved on behalf of land sharks who coveted Papiya’s land and property, The Chief Minister’s silence over the issue has also raised many an eyebrow. Had the Special Branch already informed him about the culprit? Nobody knew for sure, though the Police grapevine indicated that the culprit had been identified. The culprits wanted Papiya’s land to build an imposing apartment. The defenceless, single woman had been warned twice, but she had never coveted money. She did not want to sell her land. They took her life.
What Police said on Monday unofficially is also quite shocking. The same Politician with his henchmen and Builder Associates had grabbed several other plots in similar fashion. The victims in those cases had been too afraid to stand up and hence left quietly in the face of threat to life.
A CID Team led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police visited the spot and inquired about the incident. The official met some of Papiya’s neighbours and collected information about the visitors. The CID Team is learnt to have sought information from the Patliputra Police about the threat to the slain Professor. Sources said that Papiya had informed the Patliputra Police and a senior Police Officer when some anti-socials had tried to harass her on one pretext or the other. She had sought the intervention of a senior IPS officer when miscreants had tried to abduct her while she was returning to her Residence after attending classes about two years ago. The matter was, however, hushed up after the transfer of the said Official.
According to some friends of Papiya, she had complained to the local Police a few weeks back that she was being harassed by some influential persons who wanted her to sell off her property. They, however, refused to disclose the names of the persons involved. Though the police are groping in the dark even after 24 hours of the incident, they picked up the slain maidservant’s grandson, SN Kumar, for interrogation. “He has given some information about the visitors to Papiya’s house,” said an Investigating Officer. He, however, refused to divulge more information about the progress in investigation of the case.
Kumar reportedly told the Police that he, along with his brother, Jaishan Kumar, had gone to their native place, Jamalpur, under Daniawan Police Station on the fateful night.