Radhe Choudhary’s tears have dried up. Keeping a cotton napkin on his left shoulders, he drops his head to wipe his tears. He is confused as to how to react to the surge of media presence and the BJP politicians visiting him.
When BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi met the old man sitting on a charpoy, he rose and bent to touch the leader’s feet. Modi prevented him from doing so, and assured him the Opposition will hit the government hard and demand a CBI probe. Choudhary’s son Rajdev Ranjan, the bureau chief of ‘Hindustan’ newspaper, was shot dead in Siwan on Friday.
As leaders and media camera crew leave, Hakkamgaon near Siwan town tries to return to normalcy. The villagers say that with the murder of Rajdev, the voice of the village is gone. Rajdev’s journey was one of a watchmaker’s son becoming a watchdog. Rajdev never discussed his professional constraints with his parents. He would visit his aged parents once a week from his Siwan town-house.
Radhe Choudhary is not able to reconcile himself to the death of his son. Being a journalist’s family, most family members know the nitty gritty of crime investigation and the fate of most crime cases. So they straightaway demand a CBI inquiry. They are angry with CM Nitish Kumar’s answer of “kanoon ka raaj” after any big crime.
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“Is he CM of Bihar? Nitish Kumar has been after liquor bottles. He has been moving from Varanasi to Kerala and would go to Lucknow and various other places with his prohibition clamour. But what about what is going on back home? Nitish is not convincing with his homeaway prohibition show”, said a cousin.
Fellow villagers are also angry with the government simply saying there is a rule of law and citing statistics to prove crimes have not risen.
Some elderly villagers say Nitish’s first tenure (2005-2010) was the golden period when even Siwan criminals had gone into hiding.”Rule of law is not about taking action after a crime takes place but creating an ambience to discourage crime. It is not the same Nitish Kumar we knew. He is after power and pursuing his national ambition”, says Mukesh Choudhary, a villager.
Police constraints also come to the fore when Siwan SP Saurav Kumar Sah says they had not installed CCTVs at all prominent locations but depend on private CCTVs as in Rajdev’s case.
At the spot where the senior journalist was shot dead, the CCTV has not recorded anything since May 10. Police smell a conspiracy and sabotage. Police have not been able to crack last year’s murder case of Srikant Bharati, press advisor of BJP Siwan MP Om Prakash Yadav. Police had named one Upendra Singh, an RJD leader in the Bharati case and suspect him in Rajdev’s case too.
Though there are fingers pointed towards Mohammed Shahabuddin’s alleged involvement, the police need substantial evidence to name the convicted jailed leader.
There is an atmosphere of uncertainty over the fate of Rajdev’s case. Despite media solidarity, the family says it could end up as a case of “who killed Rajdev!” to “no one killed Rajdev.”