Former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP and bahubali (strongman) Mohd. Shahabuddin began his journey to Delhi’s Tihar Jail from Siwan Jail in Bihar on Saturday. The move follows a February 15 Supreme Court directive to the State government that the MP be shifted following complaints from families of his victims of the “nerve-wrecking terror” he wields in Siwan.Shahabuddin was moved by district authorities from Siwan jail at 2:40 a.m. and brought by road to Patna’s Beur Central jail in a six hour journey. A cavalcade of his supporters followed him to the State capital. At Beur jail, sources told The Hindu, that independent MLA and another bahubali [strongman] from Mokama, Anant Singh, met Shahabuddin; several hardened criminals lodged in the prison also allegedly jostled to meet Shahabuddin in the ward, said sources. Shahabuddin’s transit was kept completely under wraps with media speculation on how he would be conveyed to Delhi alternating between a journey by the Rajdhani Express or an evening flight.At around 3 p.m. the MP was taken out of Beur jail in a blue prisoner’s van amid tight security. Scores of media persons and supporters followed the van which however, did not stop at Patna junction as expected but moved further to the Rajendra Nagar Terminal. The entire move was telecast live on local channels. A large number of security personnel, led by a senior STF officer, cordoned off the prisoner’s van. As the supporters and media waited, Shahabuddin remained in the van. At around 5 p.m. when the Delhi-bound Rajendra Nagar-New Delhi Sampoorna Kranti Express reached at the platform, gun-totting security personnel escorted the high profile prisoner, clad in jeans and a jacket with a black and white muffler, to the train. While photographers and television crew jostled for the best view, Shahabuddin, in a ring of policemen, crossed the foot over-bridge and was taken to coach S-2. The security personnel then shut both the doors to the coach. A senior police official told The Hindu that about 16 policemen would be travelling with Shahabuddin. While reserved passenger of coach S-2 were forced to move to other coaches. the MP’s suporters boarded the train without tickets. “We’re travelling without ticket but ready to pay fine…we’ll see off our leader upto Tihar jail,” one of them said.
With supplies drying up and the indefinite strike in the Darjeeling hills entering its 27th day today, all eyes are set on the all-party meeting scheduled to be held today in Mirik area of the hills.The all-party meeting, convened by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), will be attended by all political parties of the hills. The meeting was scheduled to be held on July 18 but was advanced to July 11 following the violence in the hills on Saturday.Many hill parties are in favour of relaxing the shutdown for few days as the supplies of food and essentials have dried up due to the indefinite strike, Jan Andolan Party (JAP) sources said. A section of hill parties want the GJM to sit for the tripartite talks.This is the fourth such meeting in 27 days. The first, second and the third all-party meetings were held on June 20, June 29, and July 6 respectively. The GJM took out huge rally in Mirik demanding Gorkhaland. Incidentally, GJM had lost Mirik municipality to TMC in the last municipal polls held in May. Police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a vigil on the entry and exit routes.While Internet services remained snapped for the last 24 days, all shops barring pharmacies, schools and colleges remained closed. An Army column, comprising of around 50 personnel, was deployed in Kalimpong last night, defence sources said.Two columns of the Army have already been positioned in Darjeeling and Sonada on Saturday due to extensive arson and violence. read more