Petitions For Justice Over The Years - A Brief Scan

Latest Petition to Chief Secretary, Bihar, India, by Dr Tuktuk Ghosh, Papiya’s sister

Trials in the case of double murder of Prof. Papiya Ghosh of Patna University and Malti Devi on 3rd December 2006 at Patna
Mr.  Amir  Subhani, IAS,
Chief  Secretary,
Govt  of  Bihar,

Dear  Mr. Subhani,
On  the  16th  anniversary  of  the  tragic and  gruesome  murder of  my  sister,  Professor  Papiya   Ghosh  of  Patna  University  and  her  Attendant, Malti  Devi,  I  again  request  the  Government  of Bihar  to  provide  information  on  the  status  of  the  two  Trials  ,as  below,  which  has  been  denied  to  me  for  years,  in spite  of several  communications  to  the  Chief  Minister  and  your  predecessors-in-office.

The  first  Trial,  against  five  accused  , ST No 188  of FTC, 2007, Patna, had  delivered  a  guilty  verdict  in 2008,  with  the  death  penalty  for one  accused ( not  confirmed, however,  by  the  Patna  High  Court)  and  varying  terms  of  imprisonment for  the  others,  which  was  reportedly  challenged  in  the  Supreme  Court  in  a  Criminal  Appeal  Case, Ram  Chandra  Mahto vs.  State  of  Bihar, No. 10327/10.  In  spite  of  trying  to  obtain  details  of  the  appeal  by  corresponding  with  Shri  Gopal  Singh, Standing  Counsel , I  have , unfortunately, drawn  a  blank.

In  the  second  Trial,  taken  up  after  a  long  gap,  in  2012, in  FT  Court, ST No 1015 of  ADJ 3, First  Civil  Court, Patna, there  has   reportedly  been  no  progress,  on  various grounds, inter-alia, related  to  Case  Records not being  available, witnesses  not  showing  up etc. As  learnt  through  Mr. Anil  Sinha, Public  Prosecutor  , assigned by  Government  of  Bihar  (Mobile No-  9905299936)  ,  the  matter  has  evidently  stalled. 

In  the circumstances,  I  urge  you, as  an  aggrieved  family  member  of  the  victim and  a  former  Service  colleague ,  to  kindly have  the cases  looked  into , on  priority-  given  the  inordinate  delay-   and  the update   intimated . 

I may  add  that  my  father, Ujjal  Kumar  Ghosh, IAS, was  also a  victim  of  a  heinous  crime,  while  holding  a  senior  position  in  the  Government  of  Bihar  ,way  back  in 1957!

Both  my  father and  sister, who  contributed  much  in  their  own  way  to  the  State,  still   await  justice .

Kindly  advise  your  office  to  acknowledge  receipt  and  take  up  the  related  issues  with  the  concerned  Authorities.

Season's  Greetings & Regards,
Dr. Tuktuk Ghosh, 1AS (Rtd)
New Delhi.
Dated:  27th  December  2022.
Media Coverage

Prof. Papiya Ghosh Killed

Arun Kumar & Avinash Kumar,
3 December 2006, Hindustan Times, Patna

Patna University Professor and eminent historian Papiya Ghosh was stabbed to death along with her elderly maid, Malti, at her sprawling Patliputra Colony residence last night in course of robbery. After killing both the women, the anti socials decamped with valuables in her Maruti car.

Papiya and her maid were cremated in the afternoon after the arrival of her sister, Tuktuk Ghosh, a West Bengal cadre IAS officer. She is currently posted as Principal Secretary to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. Papiya, a spinster, was the third among four sisters. Two of her sisters live abroad.

The incident took place barely 100 meters from the residence of Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah and the Patliputra Police Station, alongside the busy main road. It came to light on Sunday morning when Gita, the maid of a neighbour NK Prasad (retired IAS officer), went there.

When the door did not open despite persistent knocking, the maid informed Prasad. His daughter-in-law went there to inquire why the door was still shut. When nobody responded from inside, she pushed the door, which opened as it was not bolted from inside. As she went inside, she found Papiya and Malti lying dead in a pool of blood. The entire house bore tell-tale signs of having been ransacked. Almirahs were open and the electronic gadgets missing. Even the air-conditioner had been taken away. The police was immediately informed about the twin murders. Prasad said he called Patna Zone IG Rajyavardhan Sharma who had studied with Papiya.

By then, it was too late. A huge crowd collected at her residence as soon as the news spread. Incidentally, it was around the same time Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was distributing prizes to policeman, including Patna SSP, for meritorious service at the CID Function.

Sharma said that primefacie it appeared to be a case of robbery during which the Professor and her maid were killed as they might have resisted the dacoits. Locals, however, believed it to be the handiwork of musclemen who had their eyes on her property. She had reportedly received threats earlier also.

The Police are yet to achieve and breakthrough in the case. Papiya’s father UK Ghosh, a former IAS officer, was also killed under mysterious circumstances in early 1950s.

“She was living alone. There was just her maid around and the anti-socials might have been aware of it,” he said, adding, the Police had collected finger-prints and pressed sniffer dogs into service to gather clues. “We are looking at the case from all possible angles,” he added.

According to neighbours, there was a burglary attempt at Papiya’s residence a couple of years ago. They said that since Papiya lived alone, she did not want to rent her house to anybody.

Media Coverage

History Prof, Maid Murdered In Patna

Indian Express 4 December 2006 JP Yadav, Patna

Papiya Ghosh, a renowned researcher of Modern History at the Patna University, and her maidservant, Malti Devi (80), were found murdered in their house on Sunday morning.

Ghosh (45) and her maidservant were found lying in a pool of blood at their house in the posh Patliputra locality. Her Alto car, cash and jewellery were found missing.

“It is not a normal robbery. There are no signs of forceful entry. It seems the culprit was known to Ghosh,” pointed out DSP Amar Singh. No arrests have been made so far. The Police are interrogating the second maidservant, who discovered the bodies today morning.

There are suspicions that the land mafia could be behind the incident. “She owned a big plot in prime area of Patna. Police should investigate this angle,” pointed out Shaibal Gupta of the Asian Development and Research Institute, who was closely associated with Ghosh.

Ghosh, whose study on Muslims in Bihar before Independence is much acclaimed, was currently researching on the Bihar Diaspora and Pasmanda (Dalit) Muslims. Three books on modern history authored by her are slated for release. Her sister Tuktuk Ghosh, a West Bengal cadre IAS officer, has reached here for the funeral.

Meanwhile, Patna University Teachers have decided to go on a mass casual leave on Monday and stage a silent Dharna in protest against the murder. “We will also seek an appointment with the Governor to demand a CBI probe into the incident,” said Prof P M Das of the PG History Department. Leader of Opposition Rabri Devi has also demanded a CBI probe, alleging that women were unsafe under the present regime.

Media Coverage

Anger, Anguish All Around City Seethes With Rage As People Mourn Papiya

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.

Media Coverage

Widespread Protests Over Killing

4 December 2006, HT Correspondent, Patna

Protest marches and Dharnas over the gruesome murder of Patna Women’s College Professor, Papiya Ghosh painted the State Capital red on Monday.

While the Police fumbled for clues, Political parties and Social Organizations took out rallies, staged Dharnas and burnt effigies of the Chief Minister to register their anger over what they described as the abject failure of the Government to control crime. They demanded from the State Administration that the killers be brought to book at the earliest.

Members of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) took out a protest march and burnt Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar’s effigy at the Income Tax Roundabout. Later, addressing a meeting Anita Kumari held the Administration responsible for the killing of Papiya Ghosh and her maid. The dignity and life of women was at great risk under the present regime said Shakuntala Prasad. Binda Prasad, Anuradha Singh, Rekha Kumari and many others participated in the March.

All India Democratic Students’ Organistaion (AIDSO) organized a march from Patna College to Kargil Chowk. They too burnt an effigy of the Chief Minister and raised slogans like “Hatya, loot, apharan ka ye shashan nahin chalega, nahin chalega.” They later held a Meeting in which the Speakers flayed the Government.

Not to be left out, the members of RJD’s youth wing, Chatra Rashtriya Janata Dal Members also staged a Dharna. The leaders of the outfit said the present Government had failed to keep the promises, made to the people on the basis of which they got elected. They sought to know what happened to the Government’s promise of curbing crime within three months of assuming office.

Media Coverage

Students Pay Tributes To Prof Papiya

Anugya Srivastava, 4 December 2006, Times of India, Patna

“She gave sense and meaning to history. After hearing her weekly lectures at the Post-Graduate Department of History, things that had seemed inexplicable suddenly acquired a face that seemed as if it was a known face. She was extremely concerned about her students and often spent her money for making additions to the Department’s Library, for she often said that it was a poor Library and how could students get to know History unless they were exposed to new facts and emerging theories.”

This is about a Teacher who was loved and revered by her students. Most students gathered at the Department on Monday, the day after she was murdered at her home, seemed quite ‘lost and unable to accept’ the fact that Professor Papiya Ghosh was no more. “She was to have lectured us on the Peasant Movement on the coming Friday. Now, she would never be taking that class or any other,” said Reena Kumar, an MA Previous student.

“She was so concerned about our future and used to advise us on what to do and what not do. So ‘complete’ a Teacher I have never known and never will. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else teaching us History, so total was her involvement with the subject,” said a final year student, Rohit Prakash, as he and others just moped about the halls of the Department. Professor Ghosh’s death was a shock her students seemed not to still believe. Indeed some went to the extent of suggesting that she would suddenly emerge from one of the rooms and summon them all for a friendly tête-â- tête on the pertinent issues of the day, a gesture she was in the habit, as some of them pointed out, of repeating from time to time.

What her students could not understand was why did such a thing to happen to someone like her, “so energetic, so full of life, so much fun to be with and so very progressive, a fine human being and a wonderful Teacher, one who was so gentle that she couldn’t hurt a fly.”

Said Parwez Kumar, a final year student of history. “A total democrat like her I have never seen. It’s tough accepting the fact that such a beautiful human being and such a fine teacher is no more.”

For Krishna Sammit, a student of the Previous year, History will never be as interesting as she made it out to be. “After each of her lectures, Ma’am used to prescribe a list of books for us to read so as to clarify any doubts that remained, through after her lectures things became so clear that we did not, often need to consult any other books. She was in the habit of bringing along to her lectures a number of clippings pertaining to certain historical issues that she had xeroxed and distributed amongst us. The rarer ones she pasted on the Department’s Notice Board,” he said, his voice giving way as he remembered Professor Ghosh and the difference she had made to his outlook.

Zafar Kaleem, who attended her last lecture on Saturday, said she appeared very upset at the state of the Department’s Library and its maintenance. “She was so angry, so very hurt by the apathy of the Departmental authorities,” he said, adding that the way she taught was so very unlike the way other Patna University teachers taught, far more accessible, extremely disciplined and very strict when she needed to be.

There was one aspect of Professor Ghosh’s personality that few know of. And that, according to Akhlaqur Rahman, was her insistence upon her students knowing the ‘difference between a good newspaper and one that was not as good.’ “She truly believed that newspapers exercised a great influence on our lives and helped shape society,” he added.

Later, the students of the Department, both Previous and Final Year ones, held a Condolence Meeting at the Darbhanga House today. Still later, accompanied by the members of the All-India Students Association (AISA) they took out a Protest March and demanded that the CBI probe her mysterious murder. Teaching in all the Departments of the University remained suspended for the whole of Monday.

Media Coverage

PU teachers stage dharna to protest murder of Prof. Papiya Ghosh


Patna University Teachers, on Monday, stayed away from their classes and instead sat on a silent Dharna at the Patna University office to express their protest against the brutal killing of one of their own colleagues, Papiya Ghosh, a History Professor who, along with her maid, was stabbed to death at her residence in Pataliputra Colony sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Demanding a full CBI probe and adequate monetary compensation for the victims’ families, the teachers said if the killers were not apprehended soon, they would be forced to go on a prolonged strike that may well disrupt the entire University functioning.

“Dr. Ghosh was a well-loved teacher and had the admiration of her peers as well as the students who had the opportunity to study under her,” Patna University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) president U. K. Sinha said.

Meanwhile, the Police struggle to get any lead in the case that might result in the arrest of Dr. Papiya Ghosh and her 70-year old maid Malti Devi’s killers.

“We just aren’t sure if this was a random act of crime or Dr. Ghosh was a victim of a well-conceived plan hatched by someone with some motive,” a senior Police Officer said on Monday.
The Police are attempting to contact some labourers who were engaged in some renovation work of the building in which Dr. Ghosh lived.

They are also searching for two other individuals who used to come see Malti Devi on a regular basis, sources said.

A Maruti car, a computer, and an air-conditioner, besides some other items, were stolen during the murder-robbery attack.

Media Coverage

Papiya’s Murder Evokes Strong Condemnation


Every incident of crime in the State Capital evokes a ‘predictable’ response from those committed to the task of opposing a ruling dispensation. But the widespread reaction over the brutal murder of Patna University Professor, Papiya Ghosh, along with her maidservant, gives out a distinct feeling that it is not about ‘nit picking’ but a spontaneous expression of concern over the law and order situation, now threatening to go awry.

The fact that the teaching community has taken a lead in expressing their anger over the growing incidents of crime indicates the question related to law and order has slowly but surely started to agitate the residents. More so, when most of the senior citizens are being forced to live alone. In this backdrop, the reactions by political outfits are serious.

Reacting strongly, the Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Vijayakant Thakur said, “The incident has badly exposed Nitish Government’s claim on law and order front. It reiterates that no one is safe in the State Capital.”

The role of local Police should be brought under the ambit of a CBI inquiry as the officials had been earlier informed by the victim about the nefarious designs of criminal elements on her house and property, he said and added, “In the death of Ghosh not only the teaching fraternity but the people of the State have lost an able Teacher.”

The reaction of State secretary CPI-ML, Nandkishore Prasad was more scathing. “A Government that cannot protect the lives of its citizens, in the Capital cannot be expected to guarantee the lives of the teeming millions living in far of places,” he said and added, “the incident is a strong indictment of the Government that promised to bring crime under control within three months in office.”

Other incidents, like the one in Sasaram and Bagaha, also point out that the morale of criminals is high and their nexus with Police Administration have emerged stronger. “Public anger against Government patronage to criminal elements is growing with each passing day,” Prasad said.

The State President of Nationalist Congress Party, Aquuil Haider, said the murder of Ghosh was proof of the deteriorating law and order situation. “In fact, delay in the arrest of criminals has thrown the State back to Lalu-Rabri days,” he said.

Dr Noorhasan Azad, General Secretary, All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj, has also condemned the incident. Demanding death sentence for the culprits, he said, “Her death has caused a great setback to the Dalit Muslims and Pasmanda agitation as she was doing research work on their struggle.” Cultural Organisation, Lokayat, has also expressed similar views.

Others to join the condemnation included Manoj Sharma, General Secretary, Bihar Pradesh Youth Congress, Shatrunjay Prasad Pandey, General Secretary, Samata Party, Mrityunjay Kumar, President PU Wing of Chatra Lok Janshakti and Barun Kumar Singh of Bihar Pradesh Vocational Teachers’ Association. They demanded stern action to nip the trend of crime for targeting property as it could trigger a ‘migration of different kind”.

Media Coverage

PU Functioning Paralysed


The working of all the constituent Colleges and Post-Graduate Departments of Patna University (PU) remained completely paralysed on Monday as the University Teachers went on a day’s mass casual leave and offered day-long Dharna in protest against the gruesome murder of PU History Professor Papiya Ghosh. The entire Campus wore a deserted look as neither Students nor teachers turned up at their respective Departments.

Shocked Teachers sat on Dharna at Wheeler Senate House in support of their demands, including a CBI inquiry into the killing, immediate arrests of the assailants and stern punishment to the guilty through Fast Track Court, payment of Rs.25 lakh as compensation to the next of the kin of the slain and adequate security to PU Teachers.

The agitating Teachers wore black badges to register their protest. Posters pasted on the walls of Wheeler Senate House depicted slogans like “Papiya was great, long live Papiya”, “Save us, save education”, and “Shikshak bachao, des bachao”.

Nearly 300 Teachers, led by Patna University Teachers’ Association President, Upendra Kishore Sinha and General Secretary, Randhir Kumar Singh, sat on Dharna. PU Pro-VC, S Ehteshamuddin, former VC Jagannath Thakur, Dean Students’ Welfare, E A Arshad, Registrar, Vibhas Kumar Yadav, Principals of different Colleges and Heads of Post-Graduate Departments also sat on Dharna.

Later, a delegation of the PU Teachers’ Association submitted a separate Memorandum of its demands to the Governor, CM, HRD Minister, Patna DM and SSP and demanded immediate arrests of the culprits.

Several Students’ Organizations, including All India Students Association (AISA), National Students Union Of India (NSUI), Lok Jantantrik Chhatra Morcha ensured complete closure of Colleges and University Departments and organized a protest march. They also held a condolence meeting at Darbhanga House.

The Officers and Staff of PU held a meeting under the Chairmanship of the VC, Y. Simhadri. The Office remained closed after the Condolence Meeting. A Meeting of Teachers, Students and Staff of the History Department described Papiya as a sincere Teacher dedicated to academic pursuits.

PUTA and PU College Karmachari Sangha have also mourned the tragic end of Papiya and demanded a CBI inquiry into the twin murder case.

Media Coverage

JNU Condoles Brutal Killing


The brutal murder of Patna University Professor and eminent historian Papiya Ghosh has shocked academicians all over the country.

“It is an irreparable loss. Her dastardly murder in the capital is reprehensible”.

Thus was the unanimous view of JNU academicians who gathered in New Delhi on Monday to condole the brutal killing of the Patna-based historian.

The Faculty of Centre For Historical Studies (CHS), School of Social Sciences, JNU, New Delhi, in a meeting on Monday to mourn Papiya, recalled her love for Bihar where she chose to work.

Her association with the CHS, JNU, as a visiting Scholar earlier this year was also recalled. CHS Chairperson Aditya Mukherjee, will send a formal letter of condolence to her family.

Many JNU Faculty Members, including Monidipa Banerjee (Philosophy Department), Sucheta Mahajan and Vijaya Ramaswamy (both History Department) attended the Condolence Meet on JNU campus.

Papiya’s colleagues at Indian Institute of Advance Study (IIAS), Shimla, where she was a Fellow from 1993-96, also expressed their shock and anger. A Condolence Meeting is being planned by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at Teen Murti Bhavan in New Delhi.

Another noted modern Indian historian, Mridula Mukherjee, Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, told TOI on phone: “We are still under complete shock over the ghastly murder of Papiya. I still cannot believe she is dead,” Mukherjee said in a choked voice.

“We had recently invited her to JNU as a Visiting Fellow. She was also associated with the Nehru Museum and Library during the 90s. She was an outstanding historian and a wonderful human being,” Mukherjee said, adding she was among few persons who had no negative traits.

Academicians in Delhi will soon sit together and decide their future course of action. Peaceful protest march, signature campaign and candle light vigil would be held, she added.

Sucheta Mahajan, a close associate of Papiya, told TOI on phone from New Delhi that Papiya’s first book, part of a trilogy on the 20th century Bihar, will be published very soon by Routledge. It is in press. She has highlighted the predicament of the Bihari Muslims displaced during the Partition of the country. She was also working on Bhojpuri culture, Mahajan said.

Papiya had a brilliant mind. She was among a handful of historians of modern and contemporary India who combined deep knowledge of their subject with commitment to the milieu. Mahajan, who teaches modern Indian history at JNU, said: “At a personal level, she was a treasured friend and was very generous.”