Dr. CP Thakur is in the Union Cabinet holding the portfolio of Small Scale Industries and Development of North-Eastern Region. Prior to the present assignment he was Health minister in the present BJP-led government at the Centre. He is a Member of Parliament from Patna parliamentary constituency and has been a keen observer of caste and Naxal violence in Bihar and Jharkhand. He has been accused of patronising the Ranvir Sena. His name had figured after the Haibuspur killing of March 23,1997. In that incident Ranvir Sena had killed 16 lower caste Musahars in Bihar. His name was also found in the diary of Ranvir Sena chief Brameshwar Singh. Excerpts from the interview.
Does Naxalite groups and different private armies operating in Bihar and Jharkhand enjoy political support?
During the initial days there was no political support to any of the private armies and Naxalite groups. They were only getting funds from some isolated places. But now they do enjoy such support. Naxalite groups like MCC do enjoy the support of leaders like Laloo Prasad Yadav.
You are accused of patronising the Ranvir Sena. Your name, along with other political leaders like Dhumal Singh, figure in the diary of Ranvir Sena chief Brameshwar Singh recovered from the office of Akhil Bharatiya Rashtrawadi Kisan Mahasangh, at Exhibition road in Patna. Your comment.
These charges are politically motivated. I have got nothing to do with the activities of Ranvir Sena. An FIR was lodged against me, at the behest of Laloo Prasad Yadav, after the Haibuspur killings of March 23,1997 also. In that incident one Langar Singh, who belonged to the Bhumihar caste, had killed some Mushars. But the case against me did not stand in court.
As far as the issue of my name figuring in the diary of Ranvir Sena chief Brameshwar Singh is concerned, I have only to say that I am a public figure, and my name can be found in the diary of anyone. Mere presence of name cannot be concluded to mean that Ranvir Sena is patronised by me.
Do you think the arrest of Ranvir Sena chief Brameshwar Singh will affect the activity of Sena in the state?
Ranvir Sena has become a group of disgruntled people. They have got nothing to do with any ideology, whatsoever. Criminals have entered into the Sena fold who are not guided by any ideology. Caste colour is given to all the criminal activities done by them.
What according to you are the reasons for the growing caste and Naxal violence in Bihar and Jharkhand, and what is the solution, which you suggest to end this menace?
I have followed the caste violence in the region very closely. One significant thing that has emerged from my observation is that not a single massacre has taken at any of the places, which are linked to roads. All the places where such massacres take place are not linked by road and are very backward. So development of the state is an important issue, which needs to be addressed.
Secondly, the state administration has to become efficient. If the state government really wants to act it will not take more than seven days to crush these private armies. But there should be a will to do that, and that will is lacking.
What should be the role of the Centre in countering this menace?
I foresee a greater role of the Centre. It has to develop some mechanism to counter this endemic war. Centre has to intervene effectively and should not take a plea that law and order is the state subject.