Things seem to be finally looking up for Banwasi Musahar, the Dalit education crusader from western Bihar’s Kaimur district who has been repeatedly harassed by local bank officials over a R100,000 cheque awarded to him by HT.
On Saturday, after a series of HT reports on his plight, the Ramgarh branch of Bank of India (BoI), credited R100,186 to the 58-year-old’s zero-balance account.
RN Lal, deputy zonal manager (Patna) BoI, said the interest was for delayed payment. He also said that while lapses were being investigated, the branch manager who had dealt with Banwasi had retired on December 31.
The new manager, Vinay Shekhar Das, said Banwasi had been given a “regret letter for the anguish caused to him”.
After being awarded the cheque by HT last October, when Banwasi went to the bank, the then manager not only refused to accept the cheque but also insulted his caste.
It was only after a local photo journalist, Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal, intervened that the cheque was finally deposited on December 12.
Banwasi’s problems did not end here. On Friday, as he was preparing for the funeral of his sister, who had died earlier in the day, the 58-year-old was allegedly forced into signing some papers by bank officials without even being allowed to read them.
Kaimur superintendent of police Uma Shankar Sudhanshu said the local SDPO had gone to inquire into Friday’s matter, but Banwasi was yet to file a complaint.
“We are waiting for his return and will take action as per his statement,” the SP said.