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Media Coverage

CM Seeks Report On Papiya Case

RAMASHANKAR
6 DECEMBER 2006, HINDUSTAN TIMES, PATNA

Four days after brutal murder of Prof Papiya Ghosh, a noted historian and Teacher of Patna University, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday sought information about the progress of investigation into the case from Director General of Police (DGP) AR Sinha.

The Chief Minister called the DGP at 1, Anne Marg and sought detailed information about the police investigation. Sinha reportedly informed the Chief Minister that the police case and the criminals would be brought to book in a couple of days.

Home Secretary Afzal Ammunullah confirmed that the DGP had gone to 1, Anne Marg to brief the Chief Minister about the development in the Papiya Ghosh killing case.

On the very first day when the CM got information about the incident, he had directed to police to solve the case. The Home Secretary said that police investigation gave hints of the involvement of some close acquaintances of the deceased teacher. He said that Papiya’s sister Tuktuk Ghosh an IAS officer of West Bengal cadre and her husband met him on Wednesday. “I assured them that the case will be brought to its logical conclusion,” he added. According to highly placed sources, the CM has set a three-day deadline for the State Police Chief to solve the case or face the music.

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Media Coverage

Look Out For That Book On ‘Burglars Incorporated’

MAMMEN MATHEW,
6 DECEMBER 2006, HINDUSTAN TIMES, PATNA.

Why are the Patna Police so keen that the local Media should only report the angle it wants in the Papiya murder case?

“It’s a planned burglary, don’t you see that? They came in a car, wanted her laptop and keys to her car. Papiya resisted and hence they had to kill her. “Easy man, it’s a open and shut case; ‘Bas yahi to likhna hai,’ the cops insist and with some desperation.

The officials are in fact calling up media men voluntarily and suggesting their own line even before the media can say “ummm”. And this, when lower level cops vehemently deny Papiya’s case could ever be so simple as a fallout of a burglary.

The angle of burglary solves many problems that a dehumanised and demoralised police force cannot tackle otherwise. First: the sections for burglary are simpler, next to nothing by way of legwork is called for. Investigations do not have to be protracted. No conspiracy theories have to be worked on. The paper work is less. Special Teams need not be constituted. Bigger people need not be investigated. Embarrassment levels would always be lower with this angle. And, superior officials can get away with the theory: “Burglars are petty, not many are on police records, it’s difficult to trace them.” With all that, Policemen can walk free of the case, as can the culprits.

It’s obvious, that Papiya’s sister, Tuktuk Ghosh’s fears are not being given the respect that are due. Tuktuk has already said, her late sister had been abused, intimidated many a time by people around and her house stoned. Who were these people? Certainly burglars do not live in huge, swanky buildings in Patliputra!

There is also a history in the form of a station diary in the Patliputra Thana when a politician-academician was involved in her intimidation. Yet, the Police are in a tearing hurry to walk away from the scene and as it is obvious they want to close the case as soon as it can. All this when the DGP would have us believe that the Chief Minister was insisting that all cases should be meticulously pursued and the law would take its own course, irrespective of who was involved.

Why? Who is involved, please? Will the feuding policemen ever let us know?

The Government’s embarrassment on the same day as the Police officials were being feted is not something the Chief Minister can afford to forget in a hurry. So, the largest worry for these officials is to hide the substantive arguments, go for the petty one and make it look real and see that it sticks. If not anywhere else, in the media at least. For the media, such proclamations, coming as they do from top cops or the ‘horse’s mouth’, represent the final word and is to be lapped up. To the contrary, however, what these cops are doing is to represent their failure as strength by practicing the Goebellian dictum that you have to lie again and again to be able to make it look good and true.

This writer has experienced the alacrity with which intelligence personnel used to try to plant stories in the interested Press with perfect timing after they had already filed a report on some imagined plot by Naxalites or criminals. Once In the Press, the lead info in the Police File would then look all the more credible with their superiors in the Home Department. Forget, that such imaginary plots never happened, the reason why the Bihar Intelligence service never busted a single plot and neither could predict until it was all over and miles from where anything was predicted to happen. The same type of effort is now being put in to prove burglars killed Papiya.

The ridiculous length to which the police have gone in the Papiya case is getting obvious too. Orders have gone out to Thanas to prepare a ‘Directory of Bihar burglars operating in Patna! Do the cops believe, it could be an all time bestseller or is it a novel technique in the evolution of its police-public partnership effort? If all that Patna wanted was a burglars list after every murder, the police force could as well go to sleep and we should all be content with the crime around. Or are the police planning to bag a Booker for its book on ‘Burglars Inc’? It wouldn’t till it put some of its officers in the actual plot for credibility!

That the State Administration, swearing by their better law and order situation, has taken a big hit is obvious from the alacrity with which a reward was announced for information leading to the culprits’ arrest and the CID was hurriedly co-opted. On Wednesday, there was news, that more officers were being drafted because the present set of officers, are proving to be incompetent. Are the cops so helpless, that even four days after the incident, they had not been able to locate the deceased’s car.

That the people on the street have more common sense than this set of cops, out to nab petty thieves, is obvious from the first reactions: People query why can’t the killers actually warp their entire effort of murder by making it look like a burglary? The extra effort of the police to swallow the killers’ gamble to distract-hook, line and sinker- actually calls into question the investigation temper and their khaki’s worth. Do we have to rely on this police, so low on I.Q to protect us?So, watch out on your telly for that rickshaw-puller in your locality who may have been taking your children and grandchildren to school each day, standing with his face covered in a thana and the police claiming a reward for having solved the case so swiftly and recovered the booty (which may be hired from the repairs shop) and making for a happy Tipsy Thursday! By the time we see the ‘culprit’, he would have already been thrashed out of this world and would be too ready to accept that he stuck that knife into the victim’s tummy.

To the simple man on the street, this case is not being bungled. They have bungled on the evidence already. Isn’t it time, the DGP and the IGP, Patna went on a long walk somewhere?

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Media Coverage

CPI(ML) Seeks CBI Probe

8 DECEMBER 2006, TIMES NEWS NETWORK, PATNA.

CPI (ML) MLA, Amar Nath Yadav on Friday said in the House that his Party wants a CBI probe into the matter.

The NDA appeared undeterred by charges that a “ruling party MLA” could be involved in Papiya’s murder. “The police are doing their job. It hardly matters if the MLA is from the ruling party or the Opposition Party. If he is involved, he will be nabbed. Our regime believes that no-body is above the law, even if he is an MLA of the Ruling Party,” remarked NDA’s Chief Whip in the Assembly, Shrawan Kumar.

“So far, the investigations have not revealed that Papiya intended to sell off her house or was ever approached on this count by anyone. There is nothing to suggest that she even knew any politicians,” remarked a senior Minister. He said that the Opposition was just giving vent to its frustration as it had suffered a debacle in the recent by polls.

However, the ruling Party MLAs feel that only the arrest of Papiya’s killers will end the mindless speculations being made in the case.

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Media Coverage

Papiya Murder : No Breakthrough Yet

Pranava K Chaudhary & Alok Mishra
9 Dec 2006, Times Of India

Patna : “Justice for Jessica”, cried the country and the Court of law prodded policemen into action. Cries for justice for Patna University’s Prof Papiya Ghosh, who was stabbed to death along with her elderly maid in a posh Patna Colony on Saturday night, seems to be falling on deaf ears.

Five days on, the Patna police have not been able to identify either the culprits or their motive.

Restive and angry, Papiya’s colleagues and friends across the world have approached Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. “The Central Government should take charge of the investigation, given the evident collusion between local political and criminal elements that resulted in the horrible murder of Papiya and her domestic help,” their Memorandum to the PM reads. The signatories include University Teachers and Research Fellows of Delhi University, JNU, Nehru Museum Memorial Library, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, School of Oriental and African Studies, London and a few UK and US Universities. The Memorandum has been circulated all over the world through e-mail.

Teachers, colleagues and friends of Papiya have also planned to assemble at Teen Murti House in New Delhi on December 18 and ascertain how to bring the culprits to book. Local academicians, positively receptive to the talks of “sushasan” or good governance under the new NDA regime till the other day, are no less furious now.

“The new regime is the product of the same forces which ruled the roost previously. Only the ‘raja’ has changed,” fumed noted sociologist Hetukar Jha.

An ardent admirer of Papiya’s scholarly abilities, Jha is pained that CM, Nitish Kumar did not utter a single word to console the bereaved family members during the last five days.

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Media Coverage

Parties Sore Over Slow Investigation

10 DECEMBER 2006, HINDUSTAN TIMES CORRESPONDENT, PATNA.

Silence is golden, they say. But not so for the State Government. The stony silence of ruling NDA Government on the murder of Professor Papiya Ghosh is fuelling more speculations than providing relief to the pain of the residents.

So much so that now Political Parties have started crying foul on Government’s approach and want an “investigation” into its quietness.

“The Government did not issue any statement on the murder of Professor Ghosh. Their silence is promoting crime,” said K D Yadav, member CPI (ML) Central Committee. “After all what is the reason behind their silence on the issue is a matter of investigation,” opined Prem Chandra Mishra, Spokesperson of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC).

“In fact, the failure of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister to either issue a statement or visit the deceased’s house is fuelling speculations that the murder was done for grabbing the property and there are also hints of political patronage as well. “The CM’s silence is adding credence to the theory.” Vijay Kant Thakur of the CPM maintained. “ More than 100 murders have taken place in last couple of years for grabbing land. Papiya’s father Ujjal Kumar Ghosh, a former DM of Darbhanga, was murdered under mysterious circumstances,” he added. “All these murders are for grabbing property and some of the ruling party MLAs are involved in it,” alleged RJD MLA, Shyam Rajak.

Feeling dissatisfied with the entire approach of the Government, the Congress Spokesperson said: “It is pure inaction. They murder was done in a planned manner and a sitting or retired High Court Judge should probe the matter.”

Yadav of CPI (ML) was more critical of Government’s functioning and said there was no difference between this Raj and the previous one.
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Media Coverage

Teachers To Strike Work For CBI Probe

VK Tripathi
10 Dec 2006, Hindustan Times , Patna

All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (AIEUCTO) has given a call for a one-day strike by University and College Teachers on December 14 to press various demands including a CBI inquiry into the gruesome murder of Patna University Teacher Papiya Ghosh.

About 33,000 non-Teaching employees of nine Universities of the State will also go on mass leave the same day in support of their demands.

The AIEUCTO’s strike call was endorsed by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Federation of University Teachers’ Association of Bihar and Federation of University (Services) Teachers’ Association of Bihar at its meeting held on Sunday.

The JAC also decided to stage a Dharna at the University Headquarters on December 14 with Teachers wearing black badges as a mark of protest against the incident and also the inability of the police to arrest the criminals even a week after the incident. JAC Joint Convener, Prof AKP Yadav, said Papiya’s killing had exposed the poor law and order situation in the State Capital and caused a fear psychosis among the Teachers.

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Media Coverage

Murder Rocks Houses

11 DECEMBER 2006, HINDUSTAN TIMES, PATNA.

“…..how many deaths will it take till he knows, that too many people have died; the answer my friend is blowing in the wind…..”

Improvising on a popular Bob Dylan tune, Patna Women’s College students sang for their favorite Professor, Papiya Ghosh, as they marched, holding candles, to the JP Roundabout here on Monday evening. The emotion, anguish and hurt was evident as friends of the late Professor broke down while recalling their association with the wonderful human being and acclaimed scholar that she was. There were messages from Scholars of various Universities in Berkeley, London, Chicago, Duke, Rutgers, Jadavpur and Delhi. Many participants said they were upset that even 10 days after her murder, the police were yet to nab her killers.

Earlier in the day, a combative Opposition disrupted proceedings in both Houses of the Bihar Legislative as it pressed for acceptance of its Adjournment Motions articulating the law and order concerns arising out of the Patna University Professor’s murder. It also expressed concern about the progress of the Police investigation and demanded that the Government handed over the probe to CBI.

However, Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar dismissed the Opposition’s demands. He said the Professor’s killing was not the kind of case the CBI is equipped to handle. “Demanding a CBI probe has become a fashion nowadays,” he said.

“The Police are on the job. I have personally reviewed the progress of the investigations only on Monday. A breakthrough should not take long. But we must have patience. Undue brouhaha will not expedite matters,” he told reporters after the House were adjourned. He also dared the Opposition to come out with information, if it had any, on the Papiya case.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition, Rabri Devi, declared that the Bihar Legislature would not be allowed to function till such time as the Adjournment Motion was admitted and deliberated upon.
The Professor was stabbed to death along with her maid in her posh Patliputra home on the night of December 2/3.

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Media Coverage

Why Are Papiya Killers Still Unidentified ?

PARTHA PRATIM ROY,
11 DECEMBER 2006, HINDUSTAN TIMES, PATNA.

Activists of Bengalee Association, University Teachers, members of the Intelligentsia and Human Rights Activists unanimously demanded a CBI probe into the gruesome murder of Patna University History Professor, Papiya Ghosh and urged the Nitish Kumar Government to nab the killers at the earliest.

Seething with anger they sat on Dharna at Kargil Chowk on Monday protest the brutal killing of Prof Ghosh’s murder.

“The Dharna is organised to pressurise the Government to arrest the killers immediately. We want to know why Papiya’s murderers are still unidentified? Are they were more powerful than the Government?” said the President of Bengalee Association Dilip Sinha. “If the Government fails to nab the killers within the next seven days we will take out a peaceful procession in the State Capital in which the members of Bengalee Association from all parts of the State will participate. We will also submit a Memorandum to the Governor shortly if we do not see any progress in the case, Sinha said.

President and Secretary of PUTA (Patna University Teachers Association) Professor UK Sinha and Prof Randhir Kumar Singh and Secretary PURTA (Patna University Retired Teachers Association), Dr Subhas Kumar Ganguly, who were also participating in the Dharna condemned the dastardly act and demanded immediate arrest of the killers.

Professor Purnendu Mukherjee, coordinator All India Bengalee Association and HoD, Bengalee Department, B N College and Professor Jayanti Sarkar, Department of Economics, Darbhanga House, Patna University also demanded immediate arrest of the assailants. “I am concerned over the inordinate delay in nabbing the culprits. Justice delayed is justice denied'” Mukherjee said.

Dr Dilip Sen who was also present said, “We will not end our agitation till the killers of Papiya are sent behind bars.”

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Media Coverage

Why CBI Probe ? They Can’t Solve Murders, Says Nitish

J P YADAV
11 DECEMBER 2006, INDIAN EXPRESS, NEW DELHI.

Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, while sidelining the demand for a CBI probe into the murder of noted Professor of History Dr Papia Ghosh and her maid, today opined that the CBI does not have the expertise to solve murder cases.

Talking to Reporters in his chamber in the State Assembly, Kumar stressed it was the duty of the State Police to probe the murder. “CBI does not have expertise in murder cases. It is mainly for corruption cases. This is the job of the State Police and it is doing it,” he pointed out. He felt the Opposition was raising a hue and cry over it since they did not have any issue against his Government.

The fact is that the Police are clueless even a week after the Professor and her maid were stabbed to death in their posh Patliputra Colony house. They have not been able to arrest anyone in the matter nor have they recovered the Professor’s car said to have be taken away by the killers. “There is not an angle which we have not examined. But so far there are no leads,” said a top Police officer.

The killing of Dr Ghosh—a noted researcher of Modern History—has generated sharp reaction among the state’s intellectual and academic fraternity, who are demanding a probe by the CBI. Teachers of the Patna University, where Dr Ghosh used to teach, too, want the CBI to be roped in. They have even declared a strike on December 14 to press their demand.

Today, the Opposition joined in and did not allow the Assembly to function, raising the murder and other issues pertaining to law and order. Dr Ghosh’s IAS officer sister, Tuktuk Ghosh, has reportedly taken up the matter with Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. It is learnt that the PM has spoken to Kumar in this regard.

However, the CM’s reluctance to hand over the probe to CBI is contrary to what he had done in after the theft of priceless statues from Patna Museum. The Investigating Agency had cracked the case within days of being handed over the probe.

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Memorialising Papiya

Papiya Ghosh prize for best MPhil Thesis, Oxford University, UK

An Annual Award was instituted in Papiya’s memory by Saurav Sen, her nephew, from 2008, in the Department of Development Studies, Oxford University (UK) for the best M. Phil Dissertation. Those who have won this prize are:

2008 – Alexandra Lowe

2009 – Laura Ertmer

2010 – Kuumuori Ganle

2011 – Andrea Ruediger

2012 – Stephanie Bell

2013 – Felicity Le Quesne

2014 – Santiago Izquierdo Tort

2015 – Lucia Rost

2016 – Michela Mossetto Carini

2017 – Aisha Ahmad

2018 – Rocco Zizzamia

2019 – Nora Cyrus

2020 – Leonie Hoffmann

2021 – Wan Yii Lee