Stakes high for Ranvir Sena in next round of polls

By Abdul Qadir

GAYA: Ranvir Sena, the private army of the ex-land lords has much at stake during the next round of panchayat elections as Chunneu Sharma, Sena's Magadh division founder is contesting the Zila Parishad Seat from the Belaganj area by proxy. Himself an absconder Chunnu Sharma has fielded his wife Meera Devi from the seat. Meera's only qualification in the election is said to be her marital status as the wife of the most wanted outlaw of the region. Sharma is the named accused of several massacres including the Khagari Bigha massacre alleged to have been masterminded by the Sena supremo.

Though of late Chunnu Sharma's position within the Ranvir Sena has weakened following the emergence of Satendra Sharma and a section for the Ranvir Sena has even disowned him on the charge of extortion of the Ranvir Sena's own supporters among the affluent farmers and transporters, Chunnu continues to be the most dreaded man of the area. Only a few months back buses went off the Gaya Patna road following Chunnu Charma's dictat.

Meera Devi's election has become a prestige issue for the Ranvir Sena lord as defeat would weaken his position within the organisation. Despite the Sena leadership's reported unhappiness with Chunnu Sharma who is alleged to have used the Sena link to feather his own nest, he (Chunnu) continues to have personal control over a large part of both the arms and the men of the Ranvir Sena and Satendra Sharma is yet to consolidate his position within the organisation.

The terror created by Ranvir Sena in the Meera-Bigha-Bara areas on April 19 during the third round of panchayat elections has come as a morale booster for the Sena and it is likely to take advantage of the upbeat mood of its arms of its arms squad. A 40-member squad displaying its arm in broad-day light and walking through the fields despite the strong presence of the Central Reserve Police Force has put the Sena in a psychologically advantages position.

Realising the gravity of the situation, state police top brass including the DGP,R R Prasad, ADG Ashis Ranjan Sinha and IG operations Neelmani were engaged in strategy preparation on Friday afternoon at Belaganj to contain the Ranvir Sena menace during the fourth phase of election. Kormathu village of the Belaganj Police Station is said to be the local head quarter of Ranvir Sena. Till quit recently Kormathu was virtually out of bound for the police force which has to make retreat on several occasions including the post Khagharibigha massacre raids. A few weeks back, the Gaya Superintendent Raveendran Shankar succeeded in conducting raids in the village.

On its part, the Gaya Police cannot afford to allow the Ranvir Sena to repeat the Teekari show in the Belaganj area on the April 23. By all accounts, the fourth round of panchayat election is going to be the most challenging to the Gaya administration.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: April 23, 2001
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