Arrest of fallen Galwan soldier’s father rocks Bihar assembly, probe ordered - Hindustan Times
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Arrest of fallen Galwan soldier’s father rocks Bihar assembly, probe ordered

ByArun Kumar and Anirban Guha Roy, Patna
Mar 01, 2023 09:25 PM IST

Last Saturday, one Raj Kapoor Singh, father of Jai Kishore Singh, one of the 20 Indian Army soldiers killed in the clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of Ladakh, was arrested at Jandaha in Vaishali district, around 50 kms from Bihar’s capital Patna, following a dispute over construction of a memorial for his son.

The recent arrest in Bihar of father of a soldier killed in the 2020 Galwan Valley clash and alleged police misbehaviour with him rocked the state assembly on Wednesday, with Opposition BJP creating a ruckus in the House, even as chief minister Nitish Kumar said he had received a call from defence minister Rajnath Singh on the issue and had told him the matter is being investigated and appropriate action would be taken.

Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha with BJP legislators interacts with media persons outside the Bihar Assembly on Wednesday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha with BJP legislators interacts with media persons outside the Bihar Assembly on Wednesday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

Separately, a statement by police headquarters said director general of police R S Bhatti has taken a “serious note of reports in the media about the incident” and ordered a thorough probe.

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Last Saturday, one Raj Kapoor Singh, father of Jai Kishore Singh, one of the 20 Indian Army soldiers killed in the clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of Ladakh, was arrested at Jandaha in Vaishali district, around 50 kms from Bihar’s capital Patna, following a dispute over construction of a memorial for his son.

According to agency reports quoting local police, Raj Kapoor was arrested on the basis of a police case lodged against him by one Vishwanath Ram, who accused him of encroaching his land and illegally constructing a memorial of his son.

News agency ANI quoted family members as saying that Raj Kapoor was thrashed and that police had put pressure on them to remove the bust of the soldier. “I don’t have any idea why they arrested my father or why an FIR was filed against him. All the information that has come out in the public domain in the matter is fabricated. This memorial was built following due process,” ANI quoted Nand Kishore, brother of Jai Kishore, as saying.

On the other hand, the police, as per ANI, have claimed no permission was sought to build the memorial on the land, which belonged to someone else. “On January 23, a case was registered under the SC/ST Act over a bust installed on the land belonging to Hari Nath Ram and on government land in Jandaha. Later, boundary walls were erected around the memorial. They (family of the fallen jawan) did not seek official permission. If they wanted, they could have made it on their own land or seek land from the government. There would not have been any issue then. The landowner’s rights were violated due to encroachment,” ANI report said on Tuesday, quoting “SDPO Mahua”, without naming the police officer.

Vaishali superintendent of police (SP) Shree Maneesh said on Wednesday that a team from the police headquarters has reached the spot and it would give its detailed report on the turn of events. “I cannot comment on the matter, as police headquarters is looking into it,” he said.

The Vaishali administration has also rejected reports that the soldier’s father was manhandled by policemen.

In the House

Meanwhile, opposition BJP members in Bihar Assembly created a ruckus on Wednesday and staged a walkout over the issue.

The protest turned ugly when some of the BJP MLAs tried to disrupt proceedings by placing chairs on the reporters’ table and thumping the desk continuously, prompting Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary to warn that “he would be forced to take disciplinary action” against them. As the din continued, the Speaker allowed opposition leader Vijay Kumar Sinha to make a statement after parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary made an intervention.

In his statement, Sinha alleged that denigration of armed forces was deliberate ever since the “mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) assumed power in Bihar.

At this point, deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav rose and said he had met the family of Jai Kishor Singh shortly after the soldier was killed. “He belonged to a village (Chakfatah) that is not far from the assembly seat (Raghopur) I represent . I had met the family members who had demanded a memorial to be constructed of the martyr,” Yadav said.

The deputy CM said that as per reports, family members of the soldier were not ready to construct the memorial on their land but in an adjacent land belonging to a person hailing from scheduled caste community.

“The government of grand alliance led by chief minister Nitish Kumar believes in rule of law. Law is doing its work,” Yadav said, adding that he does not believe in making a show off of patriotism, an apparent dig at opposition BJP.

CM Kumar said he had assured the defence minister of a probe. “I told him (Rajnath Singh) that I will find out the reason behind the arrest by the police and what exactly happened,” the CM said.

Nonetheless, BJP MLAs kept shouting slogans for a while before staging a walkout.

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