Too many 'living dead' in UP
- Too many 'living dead' in UP
ARVIND SINGH BISHT
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2003 01:46:05 AM ]
LUCKNOW: 'Living dead' may sound illogical a joke, but it is a case
true to UP. Hundreds of them are locked in a long-drawn legal battle
to fight their way to become alive on the government record.
For lack of concerted efforts on the part of successive governments
to redress their grievances, the living dead continue to suffer
untold miseries. As once declared dead on official record, even a son
of the soil forfeits his bonafide rights and becomes alien to his own
land and property.
The blame for the wrong goes to revenue and police officials, who
have the power to declare anybody dead. And this is a modus operandi
common to most parts of the state, specially in rural areas where it
has been made a tool by the resourceful to grab land.
Interestingly, this has been chosen as a plot for his new film to be
shot shortly here by well-known film personality Satish Kaushik. The
script for this is prepared by Imtiyaz Husain.
The problem persists despite a hue and cry raised over the issue by
Lal Bihari Mirtak, who has formed a Mirtak Sangh. The Sangh, he says,
now plans to hold a protest in a unique way by having a 'Brahm bhoj'
(a ritual being held after death) to be attended by over 2000 living
dead from all over the state here in front of the Vidhan Sabha on
Since the problem plagues all, the bhoj will be attended by members
of different communities, including Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs
and Christians, he says.
And he adds: "The invitation has been extended, among others, to
President APJ Klam, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, DPM LK Advani, the Chief
Justice of India, chairman NHRC, besides Governor Vishnukant Shastri
and chief minister Mayawati."
"We are left with no option but to fight for our rights peacefully,"
Mirtak says, who himself fought his way hard to become alive on
record after a battle waged by him from 1976 to 1994.
In between, he held dharnas at Boat Club in New Delhi, threw his
memorandum of demands on the floor of the assembly, resulting in his
arrest in 1986.
Outside the House, he also tried to raise his voice by contesting Lok
Sabha elections against former PMs, VP Singh in 1988 from Allahabad
and Rajiv Gandhi from Rae Bareli in 1989.
Sizable number of victims are those either working in some foreign
countries or settled there. For instance, Bandehasan, who is said to
be working in the UK, was declared dead in his village Sultanpur of
Mau district. The mistake was corrected only when it was taken up by
the Mirtak Sangh, claimed Lal Bihari.
Lamenting the government's attitude, Lal Bihari said that no drive
had so far been launched for verification of living dead despite
repeated demands. He also said that erring officials were seldom
punished and the action taken against a few were not pursued.
An official, while admitting the problem, said that it was well under
control. However, asked about the number of such cases, he said it
was difficult to give an exact figure.