More than seven months after the police firing in Forbesganj in which four Muslims were killed,the incident has now become a bone of contention between the National Commission for Minorities and the Bihar government. This after the Bihar government turned down some of the suggestions made by the minority panel citing that a judicial inquiry into the incident was on and it would prefer to wait for its findings.
What has irked the commission the most was that Bihar Minority Affairs Minister Shahid Ali Khan,while responding to a letter sent by NCM Chairperson Wajahat Habibullah to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,has made a mention of the recent police firing in Gopalgarh in Congress-ruled Rajasthan in which 10 Muslims were killed. A letter written by Khan to Union Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid makes an interesting reading.
In a tongue in cheek fashion,Ali said Bihar does appreciate the NCM chiefs concern,but,at the same time,I would like to bring to your notice that minorities in Bihar,especially the Muslims,are also deeply distressed by the incident that took place in Gopalgarh, Rajasthan…. Please convey our concern over this appalling incident to Wajahat Habibullah….
The NCM chief is not amused at the mention of Gopalgarh firing which he feels was an unnecessary attempt to give such incidents a political colour.
He is set to sent a strongly-worded reply soon.
Soon after the police firing incident in June last year,Habibullah and NCM member Syeda Bilgrami Imam visited Forbesganj,a Muslim-concentrated village. The NCM chairperson later followed up with a letter to the Chief Minister.
Now,in a response,Khan has made it clear that the state government would wait for the findings of the judicial inquiry regarding payment of compensation and action against the police personnel.
The state government has already paid Rs 3 lakh to the parents of an infant killed in the firing. …It would be appropriate for the state government to take a view on the police firing only after the commissions report has been received so that no prejudice is caused to the process of inquiry, Ali wrote.
Ali rejected the NCM chiefs observation that the incident has shaken the confidence of minorities, saying the notion was misplaced as there is nothing in the event which would be even remotely interpreted to give the impression that minorities were treated in an unfair manner.
He said the genesis of the incident lies in the right to passage through an industrial estate and it cannot be said the turn of events would have been different if the village was majority dominated.