Abhishek Kumar Rai, 17
He had stepped out, got shot in the neck
Abhishek, of Sonbarsa village, had gone out to relieve himself near a rivulet, as most villagers do. He got drawn by the commotion at Dadi Kala on the opposite side of the rivulet, his family said. “The bullet pierced his neck. Is this the way to treat a child,” said Shankar Rai, his grandfather. Abhishek was in Class XI at Indira Gandhi Memorial College, Barkagaon. “Had he been alive, he would have gone for tuition,” Rai said. The family, owns a couple of acres and cultivates rice, wheat, onions, potatoes and vegetables.
Ranjan Ram, 17
Back from tuition, caught in firing
Ranjan Ram, a student of Class XII in Indira Gandhi Memorial School, Barkagaon, belonged to Sindwari near Chirudih. He too had gone for tuition, his classes in Barkagaon. He was returning home when he was hit by the bullet. “Here, coaching and tuition centres begin taking classes early in the morning. My son was focusing on his studies. He heard the commotion and got caught,” said Karinath Ram, the father, whose family had never bothered about the protests over land. “We have barely a couple of acres of land. Some people from here went to meet the chief minister a couple of months ago. We are doomed, whatever we choose,” said Karinath, who works in a firm in Barkagaon.
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Pawan Kumar, 17
Returning home from tuition, he tried to hide
PAWAN PASSED Class X from Indira Gandhi Memorial College in Barkagaon earlier this year but his family could not afford his admission to XI. He was, however, taking tuition. “We were short of money and needed just a little bit more to try and educate all my children,” said Makhiran Sao, Pawan’s father, who works as a labourer in Kolkata and has come home after Pawan was killed in police firing Saturday.
The family lives in Sonbarsa, a village across the rivulet from Dadi Kala where the firing took place. That day, Pawan had gone to Sindwari for tuition and was returning when the trouble broke out, beginning with the arrest of MLA Nirmala Devi from Chirudih — ahead of Sindwari on the road from Sonbarsa — and culminating in the firing at Dadi Kala that was on Pawan’s way home.
“Some people have told me that Pawan tried to hide in a corner. But a bullet hit him,” said Savitri Devi, his mother.
Makhiran said he has never met any official of the National Thermal Power Corporation nor any political over regarding land or compensation. The clash had risen out of a protest against land acquisition for an NTPC project. “If the land of entire village goes,s o will mine. If they give something, I will get it too,” said Makhiran, who has very little to show by way of land. “This courtyard is all I have,” he said, pointing outside a house that he has managed to turn into a pucca one over the years.
Pawan’s grandfather Aklu Ram is angry. “They have not given any compensation or provided for rehabilitation. And this is how they behave. What will happen when they simply take away our land?” he said.
“Why can’t they understand this much, that one has to provide for rehabilitation if somebody’s land is being taken away?” Aklu Ram said.
Mohammed Mahtab, 30
Father of three had come home for Eid
Labourers in Delhi, Mahtab and his elder brothers had come for Eid at Chepa Khurd, 2 km from Dadi Kala. Along with his two elder brothers, “He planned to return to Delhi after Muharram,” Aftab Alam, eldest. “Labourers have to work even when they come home. My brother and others were doing tiling work in the Durga Mandir at Barkagaon, which is being renovated for Puja.”
That morning, Mahtab had asked one of his fellow labourers to accompany him to work. “By then, the trouble had broken out. Bullets were fired and my brother left us,” Aftab said.
Mahtab’s father Mohammed Muezzin worried about hhis son’s three children. “A daughter aged 9, sons aged 6 and 4 and his wife Shakila. Now, there are four mouths to feed and one person less to earn,” he said. Together, the three brothers had earned enough to make their house pucca over the years.
Asked about land and compensation, Muezzin said, “People come here, leaders have visited often. But ever since the death of my brother, nobody visited.”
Aftab has few hopes from the project and compensation for land, if acquired. “They never came to us. Some people gave their land. So, forget all that. Just ask them if they will pay any compensation for my brother’s death. That is all we can hope for.”
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