Dacoit carved out of an ‘innocent’

BJ Mirror Correspondent

This is not a Chambal story. Nor are there deep forests and high mountains! The zone also lacks bone breaking terrains and turbulent rivers meandering through weird passes. The rivers here are serene and flow quiet; rainy season blurbs not ruled out. Miles upon mile of tracks that could grow luxuriant crops but irrigation tragedy writes the obit.

The area is the plains of Muzaffarpur in north Bihar and the story is of a dacoit, etched by police out of an ‘innocent’ man. His name used to send shivers down the spine of people in the vast area touching Nepal till recent times. Today, he is a reformed man. He has bid farewell to arms and aspires to join the mainstream. He is Suresh Sahani, a ganglord of Muzaffarpur evading arrest in around a dozen cases of house robbery and dacoities. He surrendered before senior police officers of Tirhut range at Minapur.

Suresh Sahni, a resident of Harsher village in Minapur police station bared his cards before all during the surrender function. The gang lord, in his forties said: “It was 1997. I was working in Punjab but my name figured in a house robbery case. I tried to convince the police officer that I had not committed any crime but my pleading fell on deaf ears. He remained unmoved. I obtained a bail from a court and came out to start afresh”.

“I wanted to forget this incident as a bad dream. But the men in uniforms willed it the other way. My name was dragged in one and all subsequent incidents of loot and dacoity in the area. I had to spend a lot of my hard earned money to obtain bails from the court. Every time I was granted bail, I was implicated in fresh cases, albeit I had nothing to do with any such incident. Finally I picked up arms and formed a gang in 2001”, Suresh recalled.

Suresh Sahani was a relaxed and reformed man at the surrender ceremony, attended among others by Tirhut range IG of police GupteshwarPandey. “Yes, I have finally thrown away the yoke of crime and criminality”, he told journalists at the function. Till recently his name spelt terror in north Bihar. The police was looking for the crime don in about dozen cases of house robbery and dacoity, mainly on India-Nepal border. Sahani was a kingpin of the gang operating in Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Samastipur and East Champaran districts. One day he decided to give up firearms and lead a normal life. “I consider it prudent to surrender than wandering hither and thither to evade police net”, he concluded. .

Suresh Sahani repented over his past misdeeds. “I committed a series of robberies but did not cause physical harm to anybody. My motive was to earn money and not to kill or harm any individual”. He urged the senior police officers present there to set up a school and a community hall in his native village.“I want to make my children and those of my co-villagers educated so that they can earn bread for the family and live a life of dignity, which I missed”, he said.

The crime don vowed to work for de-addiction after serving sentence. “Perhaps that is the only way to wash off my sins”,he told the gathering, mostly comprising his fellow villagers. Another surrendering gangster Sukrit Sahani also echoed similar views. “Hamar sir ke baal se jyada case laad dihal geyil baa (I have been framed in more cases than hair on my head). Interestingly Sukrit, a resident of Minapur, is a bald.

The ceremony function suddenly turned sentimental. The Tirhut IG of police Gupteshwar Pandey flaunted the humane face of the police. He assured Suresh and 13 surrendering persons that the police would try to provide ‘succour within the preview of law to all of you’. “First we have decided to request the court to conduct trial of the cases in which their names figured as accused on a priority basis. Then we will look into other aspect”, he said. Range DIG B.S.Meena promised that cases, in which these people have been implicated, as claimed by them, would be reviewed. “We will also try to give benefits of government’s welfare schemes to their families if the law permits so”, he added.

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