Published: 07th November 2018
They thought I was dead: IIT alum and BAP chief Naveen Kumar after being roughed up by Bihar Police
Naveen and his fellow protesters were beaten up and arrested by the Bihar police for leading an agitation against the negligence of state departments
During a protest in Bihar, the founder of a party comprising IIT alumni, was roughed up and his cadre manhandled badly. The response by the police was allegedly so violent that Naveen Kumar, co-founder of the Bahujan Azad Party (BAP) thought that he "was dead". Speaking to us from the hospital, Naveen said, "I collapsed due to their beating and they thought that I was dead. Meanwhile, the protest intensified and more people came in support of us, forcing them to retreat."
BAP was formed in April this year by a group of 50 IIT graduates. The partly mostly comprises of members from SC, ST and OBC backgrounds who aims to work for marginalised communities at a grassroots level.
The Bihar police allegedly opened fire and roughed up 150 protesters on November 6. Naveen Kumar, along with his colleagues and villagers were protesting against the negligence of the state's electricity and medical departments which led to the death of a young farmer in Riga village in Simtamarhi district. "The government had declared a sum of Rs 4 lakh as a compensation for Sanju's family. But the protesters led by BAP demanded a compensation of Rs 30 lakh considering the fact he left behind a wife and three children," says Naveen.
The protest: The Bihar police allegedly opened fire and roughed up 150 protesters on November 6
On November 5, Sanju Tanu, a 28-year-old farmer was electrocuted after an 11KV live wire fell on him. He later succumbed to his injuries as the government hospital declined to admit him. Pointing to the inefficiency of the electricity department and the medical officers, the protestors led by Kumar and the villagers, launched a sit-in dharna in front of the district magistrate office with the dead body of the deceased. They demanded the suspension of the chief medical officer and fairer compensation to the family.
Kumar was targetted by the police and lathi-charged, leaving him with a broken wrist and injuries all over his body. "By around noon, the protest became very intense and they opened 10 rounds of fire leading to a stampede. They arrested me and four or five policemen started beating me at the same time. They have broken my wrist and I have lathi marks all over my body. I have not been able to move my hands and cannot eat anything properly," says Kumar, who is currently recovering from his injuries. "They even threatened to put Sanju's family behind bars and lathi-charged even them. But we are determined to go ahead with the protest," Naveen says with a lot of determination.