New Delhi: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has raised questions on the claims of Bihar Police regarding the June 3 firing incident in Forbesganj in the state in which four persons of a minority community were killed.
    
A two-member team of the Commission, led by Wajahat Habibullah, had visited the area on June 21 and 22 and found many loopholes in the state police's claims about the incident.

Four persons including a woman and a nine-month-old child were killed when police opened fire during a clash between them and locals opposing the construction of a starch factory and an approach road at Bhajanpur in the state's Araria district on June 3.

While the police claimed that they opened fire in retaliation to the gunshots fired by the protesters, the Committee's report said that there is no evidence of firing by the villagers or that they carried any arms or guns.

"Although the order to fire was alleged by the SP to have been given on the basis that shots were heard, but their source not seen, it was swiftly assumed that the mob opened fire and the police had to be ordered to retaliate. No evidence, however, was produced or found of arms or guns that the crowd may have carried," the report said.

 It added that thought the CD provided by the police showed glass panes of government vehicles being smashed with wooden rods, the only videos of the crowd show groups of women confronting the police, "brandishing, but not using (weapons) to strike at policemen".

"There is no video of a large, supposedly uncontrollable, mob... comprising of as many as 3,000 persons," as claimed by the police, the NCM report said.
 
"The post-mortem reports clearly show that the young men were shot in the chest and the lady in the head which has also been substantiated by the photographs received," it said.

In its recommendations, the Commission has asked for review of the compensation provided to the land owners for acquiring their land in 1988 and make an enhanced payment to them noting that "the revised rates could be a sound basis for compromise."

 In another significant recommendation, the Commission has suggested that the relief should be disbursed to the deceased in line with the relief suggested under the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill, 2011, whether or not the bill has by then become an Act.

It has also urged the state government to consider urgent steps for the rehabilitation of the families of those affected by engaging the survivors and those injured in occupations that will give them a sustainable livelihood.

The Bihar government had ordered a judicial inquiry into the firing incident amid criticism by the Opposition which claimed that the agitation by the locals was crushed to benefit a BJP leader whose kin had acquired land in the area.

A Homeguard jawan, whose image was telecast showing him assaulting an injured youth who subsequently died during the agitation and had led to widespread condemnation, was later suspended and charged with a case of murder.

(Agencies)