News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

This article was first published 2 years ago  » News » Why bahubali Shahabuddin's wife wants to leave Siwan

Why bahubali Shahabuddin's wife wants to leave Siwan

Last updated on: April 09, 2022 10:08 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

M I Khan finds out why the dreaded Mohammad Shahabuddin's widow wants to leave the north Bihar district where her husband's word was once law.

IMAGE: Hena Shahab, the Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate from Siwan during the 2019 general election, with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. Photograph: PTI Photo

"Mere bete ko phasaya gaya hai. Agar sarkar nyay nahi karna chahti hai to hum log Siwan chod kar chale jayenge (My son has been framed. If the government is not interested in justice, we will leave Siwan)," Hena Shahab says on April 7.

Life has changed for the wife of Bihar's late bahubali (strongman), Mohammad Shahabuddin, who succumbed to COVID-19 on May 1, 2021. Shahabuddin, the former Rashtriya Janata Dal MP from Siwan, was imprisoned in Delhi's Tihar jail where he was serving a life sentence for murder.

Hena Shahab, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls thrice from Siwan after 'Saheb' -- as she used to call her husband -- was jailed, has surprised everyone with her statement.

"I have already lost my husband. Now, for political reasons, my only son has been framed in a criminal case. Why is there such a conspiracy against our family? Why won't the government ensure justice?" she says agitatedly.


According to Hena Shahab, her son was accused in a criminal case relating to an independent MLC candidate, Rais Khan, in Siwan. Khan's convoy was attacked by a group of armed criminals. Though Khan escaped unhurt, one of his supporters was killed and two were injured.

The police registered an FIR against eight people, including Osama Shahab. This is the first time Shahabuddin's son has been named as an accused in a criminal case.

"My son was not even present in Siwan that day," says his mother. "He was in Delhi and he still is in Delhi. He has nothing to do with the attack."

Today, says Hena Shahab, his family is living in fear in Siwan where, once, her husband's word was law.

Siwan in north Bihar was -- before Shahabuddin's death -- considered his fiefdom for two decades. The Rashtriya Janata Dal was in power then and Shahabuddin was one its favourite sons.

Yet, most of the 63 criminal cases against Shahabuddin -- ranging from murder, extortion and kidnapping -- were registered when RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi ruled the state.

Shahabuddin, who was convicted in seven cases, was arrested in 2003 after he surrendered at a local court in connection with two criminal cases, in both of which he obtained bail.

He was re-arrested in 2005 in Delhi, after which he spent 11 years in prison. Though he was released on bail on September 11, 2016, his bail was revoked a few weeks later and, on September 30, Shahabuddin found himself in jail once again. In February the next year, he was transferred from the Siwan jail to Delhi's Tihar jail.

Shahabuddin's rise as a muscleman began in the early 1990s, when he joined the then Janata Dal. After winning the 1990 and 1995 elections, he won the Lok Sabha election from Siwan in 1996.

His popularity rose in the mid-1990s when he ordered Siwan's doctors and lawyers to stop charging exorbitant fees from citizens. Shahabuddin also acquired a large plot of land to set up an educational institute. He is said to have helped many poor people by providing dowry and cash for their daughters's weddings.

As his populist image grew, so did a darker one. Shahabuddin was linked with the murder of political rivals, the most infamous being the killing of former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Chandrasekhar Prasad in 1997.

Until the 2005 assembly polls, the campaign vehicles of other political parties were not permitted on the roads of Siwan. Rival party workers were terrified of even putting up posters there.

Most people are unaware that Shahabuddin has a PhD. His teacher, Ravi Shankar Pandey, who taught him science and math, remembers him as a bright student and a promising cricket player.

It will be difficult for anyone in Siwan to believe that Shahabuddin's wife is today fearful for her family's safety in the district.

Meanwhile, following reports in certain Hindi newspapers, the Siwan police are investigating if AK-47s were used in the attack on Rais Khan.

After Shahabuddin's death, Rais Khan and his brother Ayub Khan have been trying to establish their presence in Siwan with, it is said, active help from the state government.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox: