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Rabri calls for Nitesh Kumar's head
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
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November 02, 2007 18:06 IST

After a successful statewide Bihar bandh on Friday, Rabri Devi, leader of the opposition in the state assembly and wife of Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

She also wanted the death sentence for Janata Dal-United legislator Anant Singh and his henchmen for their alleged involvement in the rape and murder of Reshma Khatoon in Patna.

"We demand the resignation of Nitish Kumar for his failure to protect the honour and life of Reshma Khatoon, a young Muslim woman. No action was taken against Anant Singh till he attacked mediapersons," Rabri Devi said minutes before she was arrested along with several RJD legislators and former ministers in Patna for disrupting law and order during the bandh.

Khatoon, in a letter to chief minister a few days back, reportedly accused Anant Singh of repeatedly raping her. She also apprehended a threat to her life. In her letter written in Hindi and addressed to Nitish Kumar, she said she had been raped by Anant Singh, his builder friend Mukesh Singh and bodyguard Vipin Singh, several times at his residence.

"I am afraid I will be killed anytime. Maybe, I will be murdered by the time letter reaches you," Khatoon said in her letter.

In another letter to Nitish Kumar a few days later, her brother Munna also feared that she has been killed after she was forcibly taken away by Mukesh and Vipin Singh on October 27 .

"Tohar bahiniya ke maar ke Patel Nagar, Patna, mein phenk wa diye hain, tohra ke kaun bachaoto? (I have killed your sister and thrown her body in Patel Nagar. Who will save you?)," Anant Singh reportedly told Munna when he phoned Singh's at his Patna residence on October 28.

Rabri Devi alleged that Nitish Kumar had failed to protect Khatoon. "What right does Nitish Kumar have to continue as chief minister when he did not act against Anant Singh despite his office receiving Reshma's letter?" she asked.

Over 2,000 people including workers and leaders of the opposition parties were arrested across Bihar during the bandh, police sources told in Patna.

Normal life was affected during the bandh. Bhagalpur, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Barh, Munger, Purnea and several places in the state were badly affected.

The bandh call was supported by the RJD, the Congress, the Lok Janshakti Party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the CPI, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party, the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) and the Nationalist Congress Party.

In Patna, opposition workers blocked the main road at the busy Dak Bungalow square and near Gandhi Maidan.

Most schools were closed and private bus operators also decided not to run their buses.

"The Bihar government has recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the assault on journalists and also the alleged rape and murder of Reshma Khatoon," Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah said.

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