Mayawati's criticism of Nitish 'tweaking' prison rules irks 'Mahagathbandhan' leaders
The govt on April 10 amended the Bihar Prison Manual, 2012, removing the "murder of a public servant on duty" clause from the list of cases for which remission of jail term cannot be considered.
PATNA: Allies of the ruling 'Mahagathbandhan' or Grand Alliance in Bihar on Monday slammed Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati for criticising Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for tweaking rules allegedly to facilitate the release of gangster-turned-politician Anand Mohan.
Mohan, a former MP, is serving life sentence for the 1994 murder of the then Gopalganj District Magistrate G Krishnaiah, a young IAS officer who hailed from Mahbubnagar in present-day Telangana.
A court in October 2007 pronounced death sentence for Mohan, which was later commuted to life imprisonment by Patna High Court in December 2008 when appealed against the lower court's verdict.
The Nitish Kumar government has on April 10 amended the Bihar Prison Manual, 2012, removing the "murder of a public servant on duty" clause from the list of cases for which remission of jail term cannot be considered.
Legal experts believe that the amendment could lead to an early release of Mohan, who is currently serving his sentence in Saharsa prison for the last 15 years.
Criticising the move to amend the manual, Mayawati, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, recently tweeted, "Bihar's Nitish government's preparation to change the rule to free Anand Mohan in the case of the merciless murder of a very honest IAS officer from a poor Dalit community of Mahbubnagar, Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) is quite in discussions among a lot of Dalit people across the country for anti-Dalit negative reasons."
She said the sentiments of Dalit people across the country have been hurt by the move.
Terming it a "pro-crime and anti-Dalit" work of Nitish Kumar, Mayawati urged the Bihar government to reconsider its decision.
Reacting to Mayawati's allegations, senior JD(U) leader and state Rural Development Minister Shrawan Kumar told PTI, "Decisions are taken by the state government keeping the welfare of all sections of the society in mind. No decision has been taken for the benefit of a particular section or any individual. All decisions are taken as per the law. Our CM's stand is quite clear --- He has been working for the upliftment of all sections of society. Mayawati should be bothered about UP, where there is no rule of law," he said.
Echoing a similar view, another senior JD(U) leader and state Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said that Mayawati has "no moral right" to comment on Nitish Kumar as she has "exploited" the sentiments of Dalits and other weaker sections of the society whereas the Bihar CM has worked for their development.
Santosh Kumar Suman, state minister of Minor Irrigation and SC/ST Welfare, and also a leader of Grand Alliance constituent Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), told reporters, "His (Anand Mohan) release should not be made a political issue. The Mahagathbandhan government has been working for the welfare of all sections of society. There are provisions under which the state government can recommend the release of a prisoner on humanitarian grounds or on the basis of his or her behaviour after he or she has served jail term for a certain period of time," he said.
CPI(ML) Liberation legislature party leader in Bihar Assembly, Mehboob Alam, echoed Suman and said it is well within the law to release Anand Mohan on humanitarian grounds.
"Our party has been demanding the release of political prisoners and those framed and convicted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or TADA as the Act is no longer in force," he said.
State RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari alleged that Mayawati was working as per the directions of BJP.
"The Nitish Kumar government is doing outstanding work for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society," he added.
The Grand Alliance in Bihar comprises seven parties -- JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI(ML) Liberation, CPI, CPI(M) and HAM -- that together have more than 160 MLAs in the 243-strong assembly.