Holding Dalit pradhan captive, man ran panchayat for seven months
Manish Sahu Posted online: Tue Jun 21 2011, 02:53 hrs
Lucknow : When Laduram was elected pradhan of Semara Jamal Khanne
village in Gonda district in October last year, he thought it was a
rare honour for a Dalit like him. But the posting soon landed him in a
bondage he had never imagined.
Aninfluential man, Baboo Tiwari alias Rajesh Tiwari, who allegedly
sponsored Laduram's election, took him captive and virtually ran the
panchayat using the pradhan as a rubber stamp. The reason: Tiwari had
to recover Rs 6 lakh he had spent on Laduram's election.
After seven months in confinement, Laduram was finally freed on Sunday
on the intervention of Gonda District Magistrate Ram Bahadur after
Laduram's wife Kanti Devi lodged a complaint.
The police are conducting an inquiry, but have so far failed to trace Tiwari.
But the police have confirmed that Laduram had been staying at
Tiwari's residence for the last few months. They also said Tiwari was
running the show on Laduram's behalf.
"It is part of the inquiry to check whether Tiwari had forcibly
detained him," said Shashi Kant Mishra, Station Officer of Tarabganj
Kanti Devi and Laduram have alleged the police are trying to shield Tiwari.
Before the election, 47-year-old Laduram was working in Kanpur as a
labourer. Once when he visited his village after his father's death,
his brothers advised him to contest the election.
The village pradhan's post was reserved for Scheduled Castes and
Laduram's neighbour Tiwari offered to take care of his election
In October, Laduram was declared elected. But one day, in early
November, when Laduram went to Tiwari's house to thank him, he was
forcibly detained. Tiwari allegedly told him that he had spent Rs 6
lakh on his election and had to recover his money. "Tiwari forced me
to work in his field and used to take my signatures on papers
regularly. Before releasing me, he took my signatures on plain
papers," said Laduram.
Kanti Devi said she was allowed to meet her husband twice a week when
he was working in Tiwari's fields. She said when she complained to the
police, they ignored her. Tiwari also threatened her, she said.
On Saturday, she finally complained to the DM. "I immediately asked
the circle officer to look into the matter," the DM said. As the
police started making inquiries, Tiwari set Laduram free.
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