Right to Food
SANTOSH K. KIRO
Manika (Latehar), March 5: A deafening silence hovers over Jerua three days after firebrand activist Niyamat Ansari was dragged out of his home, beaten up and killed for exposing fraud perpetrated by unscrupulous contractors, possibly in cahoots with Maoists, while implementing projects meant to ensure financial empowerment for villagers.
Around 150km from the state capital, Jerua is part of Manika block in the Maoist hub of Latehar district. The 10-km mud road through dense forests that leads to the village of around 30 households has been deserted ever since the March 2 murder.
Rajmani, Niyamat’s widow, has been numbed into silence. Her eyes have swollen, and she is unable to get up from the charpoy as if paralysed. Her children, Shamsher (6), Warshi (3) and a new born, are being taken care of by her brother-in law, Muresha.
“How will the children get education? Who will earn bread for them?” says the elder brother of Niyamat.
Others in the village visit the family occasionally. But no one is speaking.
After much coaxing, Shyama Singh, agrees to talk. “Working for truth and justice has become very tough in this area. We have lost our colleague just for this reason,” she says.