Former cop, Bhagalpur SP during ‘Op Gangajal’, joins BJP

Retired Jharkhand DGP Vishnu Dayal Ram, who was superintendent of police during the infamous Bhagalpur blinding case of 1980-81, joined the BJP in Ranchi on Saturday.

Sources said the BJP has reportedly assured Ram that he would be fielded from Kanke Assembly segment during the next election.

Thirty-three suspected criminals were blinded by the police in the infamous 'Operation Gangajal'. The Supreme Court had ordered free legal aid and compensation to the victims. Eleven victims had died; 22 are living in penury.

Advocate Ram Kumar Mishra, on whose plea the SC had taken cognizance of the case, said: "V D Ram, as the then SP, was surely among those who had decided to go on a drive against criminals through 'Operation Gangajal' at a meeting in a dharmshala in November 1980. The operation was named mid-way through the blinding case when Ram had already taken over as the SP."

Patel Shah, one of the victims, had told this correspondent sometime ago that in May 1980, he, then an apprentice goldsmith in Bhagalpur, was going to Shahkund for some work. "I was travelling in a bus. Suddenly, a police team stopped the bus and ordered us to deboard. I kept pleading my innocence before SP V D Ram, but he did not listen. A frenzied crowd cheering policemen took me to a local police station where my eyes were punctured with a bicycle spoke and Gangajal (acid) was injected into my eyes, leaving me blind for life," he alleged.

Mishra said that though police officers, including Ram, got away, a subsequent high-level inquiry had revealed that besides Bhagalpur central jail suspected criminals were blinded at eight police stations. Similar incidents in Banka and Munger districts went largely unreported.

Ram, however, told The Indian Express: "I had joined as Bhagalpur SP when 12 blinding cases had already been reported. At least, I am not behind coining the term 'Operation Gangajal'." Asked about the "Gangajal-man" tag that has stuck to him for years, he said: "I do not need to react. I was posted in Bhagalpur for nine months, during which several blinding cases took place. I was always considered an upright police officer." He added that the CBI had asked him some questions in the course of the probe, but he did not face any case nor was he indicted by any investigating agency.

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