That awful day of December 5, 1994, flashed before my eyes as soon as news of the release of Bihar’s ‘Bahubali’ leader Anand Mohan Singh trickled in. On that fateful day, Gopalganj collector G Krishnaiah was killed by a mob allegedly provoked by Anand Mohan on the highway passing through Muzaffarpur city in Bihar. Krishnaiah was lynched in full public view and later, his body was riddled with bullets of AK-47 rifle by the criminals. The killing of a 37-year-old young IAS officer shocked the entire country that day! The killers were led by the then MLA Anand Mohan.
Dreaded crime was nothing new in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh at that time and even now, the situation is the same. Nevertheless, Yogi Adityanath is eliminating the mafia in Uttar Pradesh without caring for those who advocate for human rights. So, what forced Nitish Kumar, who has a very clean image, to agree to change even the jail manual to set Anand Mohan free? Everything is fair in love and war, that seems to be the only explanation… and the same holds true for every party. This may be happening a little less in some parties and a little more in others. But no one seems untouched.
You’ll be surprised to know that when the collector G Krishnaiah was killed, neither Anand Mohan knew him personally nor anyone else in the mob recognised him. In fact, the night before, a mafia don named Kaushalendra alias Chhotan Shukla of Anand Mohan’s Bihar People’s Party was murdered by criminals dressed in police uniforms. A large mob had gathered to protest against Chhotan’s murder. By some quirk of fate, G Krishnaiah was just passing by from the area. He was killed only because a red beacon was mounted atop his car! Just because he was an MLA, Anand Mohan was confident that no one could touch him.
Here in Maharashtra and Goa, we can only imagine what kind of crimes were committed in UP and Bihar. Incidents like feeding the victims to crocodiles in Uttar Pradesh to mass executions and burials in farms in Bihar have come to light. The most important reason behind this is that criminals dominate political parties. Every party wants more and more dons to add muscle to their party so that it can win elections. The political parties are willing to use any trick to achieve this. Take a loot at Anand Mohan’s case: The lower court awarded him capital punishment, but the high court commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court upheld the high court’s verdict. Imprisonment for life means confinement until death! However, there is a provision that states that if a prisoner’s behaviour is good, the government can order his early release. But there is another provision which states that if a person is accused of killing a government official, he cannot be released under any circumstances! This guideline in the jail manual has been amended by Nitish Kumar government. The Bihar IAS Association and the Madhya Pradesh IAS Association have opposed the move. Surprisingly, there are so many proactive officers in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and other states, yet there has been no report of any protest by their IAS Associations. Uma Krishnaiah, Krishnaiah’s wife, has also challenged the Nitish government’s decision before the Supreme Court. She has also sought the President and Prime Minister’s intervention.
The most important question, though, is that Anand Mohan was a leader of a so-called upper caste (I myself do not believe in the caste system. There’s nothing like upper or lower). He had also openly challenged Lalu Prasad Yadav! The then minister Brij Bihari Prasad, who was very close to Lalu, was murdered too! There are many more tales of enmity! Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party is running the coalition government at present. Therefore, there is no harm in presuming that everyone must have agreed to release Anand Mohan. All parties involved in the mahagathbandhan were also eager to secure Anand Mohan’s release. In a place where it is said that bread, daughter and vote should not go outside the caste, the game behind this benevolence to an opposition don is being played in two instalments. The first is the equation for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and the second being the 2025 Bihar Assembly polls! All the stakeholders must have entered into some kind of understanding with Anand Mohan on this.
Lalu Yadav has around 30% of the MY (Muslim and Yadav) votes. They are joined by Nitish Kumar’s votes of Koeri-Kurmi communities. So even if only 20% of upper caste voters support them, the Nitish-Lalu pair will become invincible! There is no upper caste leader in Bihar who can influence and control the entire state! This void can be filled by Anand Mohan. He was an MLA and an MP too. His wife Lovely Anand was also an MP! He also founded the Bihar People’s Party as the vehicle of Rajput-Bhumihar unity. If Anand Mohan openly supports the mahagathbandhan, it will be a win-win situation for Nitish and Lalu Yadav. In politics, there is a saying that there is no such thing as a permanent friend or permanent foe. Bihar is proving this saying true once again.
The criminals will rule the roost if they will get political protection in this manner and the politics in national interest will take a back seat! The law and order will be in disarray and the image of the new and evolving India will be tainted.
I believe the new generation of politicians should openly oppose it.
The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member
of Rajya Sabha.