Hands chopped off in Pune, traumatised hawker returns to Bihar

March 8th, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Raj Thackeray
By Imran Khan
Patna, March 8 (IANS) Shri Kishun Singh lies traumatised in a hospital bed in Bihar. For the last 10 years, he was a food hawker on Pune’s streets, but last month Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists chopped off both his hands. Unlike many other Bihari migrants, Singh did not manage to flee in time to save himself from the Raj Thackeray-led MNS’ campaign against Biharis and north Indian migrants in Maharashtra.

“I was made a disabled for no crime. My only crime was that I was a poor hawker from Bihar and speak Hindi,” said Singh. In his late 30s, he is undergoing treatment at the government hospital in Siwan.

He hails from a village in Bihar’s Siwan district but used to sell bhujja - a mixture of gram rice and groundnut - on Pune’s streets. Singh told IANS on telephone from his hospital bed that he was attacked by a group of MNS activists while he was asleep on the pavement, his regular dwelling.

He was brutally thrashed and fell unconscious. When he gained consciousness the following day he found himself in a hospital with both hands amputated.

“I was told by doctors as well as some Bihari migrants who thronged the Pune hospital that both my hands were chopped off by the attackers,” Singh said in a choked voice.

Singh’s wife said her husband was the only bread-earner of the family. But now all was lost. “Our livelihood was snatched away by the attackers in Pune; our future is bleak and dark,” she said.

The Bihar government too has done little to help out Singh.

“Not a single top official or minister has visited Singh to inquire about him and the government is yet to announce any compensation for poor Singh,” said Kamlesh Prasad, a social activist.

Singh’s story is an example of the pain, suffering and misery of hundreds of Bihari migrants who have been forced to flee Maharashtra to save their lives.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at Imran.k@ians.in)

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