Why is Shahabuddin so important in Bihar politics?

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The release of the former RJD MLA cum strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin on bail on September 10 has been considered by political observers as a severe blow to the apparent clean image of Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government.

Shahabuddin is accused of numerous criminal cases including murder and kidnapping. He spent the last eleven years behind the bars.

But now with his release, many people are apprehending the comeback of a reign of terror in Bihar similar to that of early 2000s.

Here we compiled a list of 10 important facts about the life and career of Shahabuddin.

1. Shahabuddin was born in 1967 in the rural areas of Pratappur in Siwan district of Bihar.

2. He has a post-graduate degree in Political Science as well as a PhD from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University.

3. He first came to limelight during the late 1980s when he was still in the college. His claim to fame was mainly for his violent acts against the growing reach of the CPI (M-L) and BJP in the rural areas of Siwan and adjacent areas.

4. Starting from 1996, Shahabuddin represented the Siwan Lok Sabha constituency for consecutive four times on an RJD ticket.

He fought the 2004 general elections from jail and won by a huge margin of around 100,000.

5. He hogged the national limelight when he was accused of murdering the then Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy president Chandrashekhar in 1997.

Chandrasekhar was a member of All India Students’ Association (AISA), the students’ wing of CPI (M-L).

6. Two years later, he was accused of kidnapping and murdering of Chhote Lal Gupta, another high profile CPI (M-L) activist. In 2004, was again accused of murdering three brothers.

He was convicted in both cases and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

7. Apart from these high profile cases, Shahabuddin’s name invariably cropped up whenever there was any kidnapping or murder of a political or social activist in Siwan.

8. His stint with electoral politics came to an end in 2007 after being convicted kidnapping. He was debarred from contesting the general elections of 2009.

9. It is alleged that he ran a parallel administration in Siwan during the chief ministership of Lalu Prasad Yadav. His power and influence reached its height during the early 2000s.

He repeatedly ignored the law enforcing government agencies such as police and continued organising his kangaroo courts which settled and determined almost every aspects of the local life from marital disputes to land settlement issues.

10. In 2001, Shahabuddin had a direct armed confrontation with the Bihar police in which 10 people including two policemen were killed.

Media reports and eye witness accounts confirmed that Shahabuddin’s cadres were using dangerous firearms including AK-47s during the confrontation.

Big Wire

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