Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Thursday demanded a CBI probe into the death of two sugar mill leaders who allegedly immolated themselves while protesting against non-payment of arrears in Bihar’s East Champaran district. “The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by Bihar government will not be able to probe the matter in a fair manner as the deaths of two union leaders are a result of the nexus between the mill owner, land mafia, administration and police. Hence, we demand a CBI probe into the incident,” Agnivesh said.
A five member team headed by Agnivesh, the national president of Bandhua Mukti Morcha, had on May 1 and 2 visited the spot where the two leaders immolated themselves. The team held a public hearing on the incident and prepared an inquiry report. The leaders of Hanuman Sugar Mill in Motihari, Naresh Srivastava and Suraj Baitha had on April 10 immolated themselves while demanding long pending arrears of around 7,000 farmers and 500 labourers.
Srivastava had died the next day while Baitha died on April 19 this year at Patna Medical College and Hospital. The inquiry report described police case on the labourers, accusing them of setting the two leaders on fire, as “false and baseless.”
“This is an unfortunate incident as it happened on the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagrah centenary celebrations,” he said. “We had sought time from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and wanted to submit our report but could not get an appointment due to his busy schedule. We will send our report to the CM’s office now,” Agnivesh, also a JD(U) member, said.
Agnivesh also alleged “that the officials misguided the CM by saying that the two leaders were burnt by their fellow labourers, which is contrary to the reality.” He said that he has apprised Kumar of his team’s report during a telephonic conversation. The CM said that inquiry report should be placed before the SIT. Agnivesh also demanded the arrest of the mill owner Bimal Nopani.