Bihar leader at large after mercilessly beating youth

July 27th, 2010 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Patna, July 27 (IANS) Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shambhu Saran Rai was absconding Tuesday, a day after he thrashed a youth for allegedly attempting to rape a minor girl in Vaishali district.
Rajesh Mahto, in his early 20s, was hoisted on bamboo sticks Sunday and beaten up by Rai, the secretary of the JD-U district unit, in Mansoorpur Halaiya village, about 40 km from here. Rajesh is battling for his life at the PMCH Hospital here.

The incident was first reported Monday by local TV channels. A villager had recorded it on his mobile phone, made a CD and submitted it to the district police, said a police officer in Hajipur, the district headquarters of Vaishali.

Rai, who was the only one seen beating Rajesh in the video, is absconding.

“We have been raiding several suspected hideouts of Rai since Monday. We will arrest him. There is no question of sparing him,” Vaishali Superintendent of Police Sujeet Kumar told IANS.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe into the incident and directed the police to arrest Rai. The JD-U has suspended Rai from the party.

A police officer said a first information report (FIR) has been lodged against Rajesh and his friend Ajay Mahto for allegedly attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl in the village Friday.

The girl’s parents brought up the matter at the village panchayat Saturday and Sunday.

When Rajesh turned up for the hearing Sunday, Rai thrashed him. Ajay stayed away.

However, Rajesh’s parents refuted charges against their son. “My son Rajesh was beaten like an animal because he had put pressure on Rai to return Rs.10,000 to him. Rai took the money for an Indira Awas Yojna unit,” Rajesh’s father Kailasah Mahto said.

In rural Bihar, village council heads were found demanding money for the housing scheme from the poor which they failed to return.

The incident has shocked people of the state.

“After regular reports of lynching, a Talibani style of justice has now taken place and it was executed by a ruling party leader. It seems that Nitish Kumar’s claims of good governance and rule of law are good jokes,” human rights activist Aneesh Ankur said.

Mahesh Kumar, a businessman, said the incident was like Haryana’s khap panchayats as it took place in full public view.

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