It is not only nature’s fury that people in this district have to cope with. They are also easy prey for river pirates.
Pirates have been operating on the river Kosi for years, but with people rendered vulnerable due to the floods, they are using the opportunity to strike with impunity. At least half a dozen boats ferrying the flood affected to safety have been looted in the last few days. <b1>
On Tuesday, the boats of Lalo Mukhiya, Ram Chandra Sah and Charittar Sada were all robbed at gunpoint. The terrified passengers, who readily parted with all the money and essential belongings they had brought away with them while leaving their flooded homes, were however, left unharmed. Lalu Mukhiya’s boat too was taken away, and the passengers left stranded at Mahpura.
Devendra Sah of Telwa village was carrying grain down the river to the market at Supaul in Darbhanga district when he was stopped and all his produce and his boat taken away.
A.K. Sinha, deputy superintendent of police, Saharsa, acknowledged that many complaints had been lodged against the modern day pirates.
“We have increased river patrolling in the flood affected areas,” he said. In Mahishi, Jalai and Nauhatta, police officials claimed they were patrolling round the clock. Most of the pirates use fancy motorboats against which, in a chase, the crafts of the locals are no match. A number of gangs operate, the better known among them being those of Kaila Miya, Chhabila Yadav, Ramanand Yadav and Mohammed Asam.
“The bigger boats alone sell for Rs 30,000 each while the smaller one fetch around Rs 10,000,” said Kari Das, a local.