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Why are surgeons more aggressive and short tempered than doctors of other streams?

Q. Why are surgeons more aggressive and short tempered than doctors of other streams?A. TL;DR There are potential risks and consequences of operating room nurse/colleagues abuse and these include violation of institutional and medical staff bylaws and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with potential monetary awards which are not covered by most malpractice carriers. If the awards include punitive damages, they are designed to punish and are not recoverable from any insurance held by the defendant.The JCAHO recommends that disruptive physicians be educated and that the focus of handling disruptive behavior should be based on rehabilitation rather than punishment. JCAHO regulations do recognize that at times, after attempts at rehabilitation have failed, suspension, abridgement, or revocation of hospital privileges are the only options remaining to the institution. At that time, reporting of the decisions to the State Licensing Board and the National Practitioner Data Bank is mandatory.Consequences and potential problems of operating room outbursts and temper tantrums by surgeonsGeorge B. Jacobs and Rosanne L. WilleAbstractBackground:Anecdotal tales of colorful temper tantrums and outbursts by surgeons directed at operating room nurses and at times other health care providers, like residents and fellows, are part of the history of surgery and include not only verbal abuse but also instrument throwing and real harassment. Our Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Nancy Epstein, has made the literature review of “Are there truly any risks and consequences when spine surgeons mistreat their predominantly female OR nursing staff/colleagues, and what can we do about it?,” an assigned topic for members of the editorial board as part of a new category entitled Ethical Note for our journal. This is a topic long overdue and I chose to research it.Methods:There is no medical literature to review dealing with nurse abuse. To research this topic, one has to involve business, industry, educational institutions, compliance standards and practices, and existing state and federal laws. I asked Dr. Rosanne Wille to co-author this paper since, as the former Dean of Nursing and then Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at a major higher educational institution, she had personal experience with compliance regulations and both sexual harassment and employment discrimination complaints, to make this review meaningful.Results:A review of the existing business practices and both state and federal laws strongly suggests that although there has not been any specific legal complaint that is part of the public record, any surgeon who chooses to act out his or her frustration and nervous energy demands by abusing co-workers on the health care team, and in this case specifically operating room personnel, is taking a chance of making legal history with financial outcomes which only an actual trial can predict or determine. Even more serious outcomes of an out-of-control temper tantrum and disruptive behavior can terminate, after multiple hearings and appeals, in adverse decisions affecting hospital privileges.Conclusions:Surgeons who abuse other health care workers are in violation of institutional bylaws and compliance regulations and create a hostile environment at work which adversely affects efficient productivity and violates specific State and Federal laws which prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.Keywords: Compliance, discrimination, employment, federal laws, harassment, hospital privileges, hostile, sexual, state lawsINTRODUCTIONThe history of surgery abounds with tales of angry and difficult senior surgeons who abused any person who, because of physical proximity, became the object of their fury. Many of us find amusement in retelling these anecdotes after we have escaped to the relative safety of rank or distance but remember that we passed the ring of fire and escaped injury. In the operating room, the abusive outbursts were commonly directed at the scrub nurse who was expected to stand mute and take it. I specifically do not want to name the offending surgeons who not only used words but also threw instruments to the floor and occasionally at the nurses. Their aim happily was often spoiled by their rage but occasionally hit its intended victim. Most of us in academic medicine know about a famous chair of neurosurgery in the Midwest and another famous chief of surgery in New York whose statue adorns the lobby of a major medical center as chronic offenders. Younger surgeons often took on the traits of their teacher and I vividly remember a chief resident who was described by our “CHIEF” with some admiration as someone who could slam a curtain. I myself had less luck with attempts at dominant behavior in the operating room. As a young surgeon, I once irritably instructed a very young scrub nurse that I wanted only blind obedience in my operating room. For the next 35 or so years, when she was an operating room director and I was a surgical chair and we were friends, she never once let me forget the stupidity of my outburst which was told and retold accompanied by gales of laughter at my expense over and over again. I am a quick learner, so I never repeated anything like that again.Tolerating this abysmal behavior is thankfully no longer accepted. Public abuse of operating room personnel can, and should, be stopped instantly by surgical chiefs, medical staff officers, and administrators. It is more difficult to stop private discussions which border on abuse and insults, but education through mandatory conferences dealing with sexual abuse and a hostile work environment should and will help. Both industry and colleges and universities have required, compliance mandated, sessions to prevent violations of real and at times oversensitive and perceived, rather then intended, offenses.This paper will examine the industry and institutional standards and existing state and federal laws which may potentially apply and represent a risk for the offenders.INSTITUTIONAL BYLAWS AND PRACTICESEvery institution providing health care, be it a major medical center or a local community hospital must, as part of its incorporation and accreditation documentation, provide a set of bylaws of the governing body and the medical staff. All of the bylaws have a section dealing with ensuring and supporting a productive work environment. The specific wording may differ from institution to institution, but the meaning of the bylaws is uniformly clear, and that is to promote a healthy, cooperative, and safe environment for patients and staff alike.Regulatory agencies, i.e. the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), also known as The Joint Commission (TJC), State Medical Boards, and the federally mandated National Practitioner Data Bank have established requirements for handling and reporting of disruptive behavior by physicians. The JCAHO recommends that disruptive physicians be educated and that the focus of handling disruptive behavior should be based on rehabilitation rather than punishment. JCAHO regulations do recognize that at times, after attempts at rehabilitation have failed, suspension, abridgement, or revocation of hospital privileges are the only options remaining to the institution. At that time, reporting of the decisions to the State Licensing Board and the National Practitioner Data Bank is mandatory.[5,7]Specific forms of disruptive behavior listed are:[5,7] (1) degrading comments or insults, (2) inappropriate joking, (3) profanity, (4) physical assault, and (5) spreading malicious rumors.The JCAHO, in other words, recognizes and condemns abusive behavior in the operating room and elsewhere in the hospital environment. Insulting language or descriptions involving a member of the health care team or the spreading of malicious rumors about colleagues, out of the immediate institutional environment, would qualify as being disruptive behavior.Large businesses, industry, and educational institutions have a long history of needing to deal with complaints about discriminatory practices. In industries where the majority of workers are women and many supervisors are men, an allegation of sexual harassment is not unusual. To be defined as sexual harassment, the behavior does not have to be a request for sexual favors. Offensive comments about, or interpreted to be about, women are sufficient to be labeled sexual harassment. In an environment where the majority of nurses are women and the majority of surgeons are men, it is not difficult to imagine that the person at the receiving end of a barrage of insults decides that she was a victim of sexual discrimination.[6,14]In order to meet corporate compliance regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and reduce liability of harassment claims, a company (educational or health care institution) must train employees and supervisors, require employees to report harassment, thoroughly investigate all reports, and take corrective actions.[5,6] Many institutions, including colleges and universities and major medical centers, have instituted mandatory training and education which is conducted on an yearly basis. There are multiple providers of compliancy training to assist organizations to meet the requirements and be proactive in preventing or ending a hostile work environment. Inactivity represents a real liability financially and a potentially devastating public image risks affecting the success of the institution, be it a business, hospital, or university.FEDERAL ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWSThe Federal EEOC is charged with enforcing all the federal laws prohibiting job discrimination.For the purpose of this paper, the most significant federal law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. As a corollary to the 1964 Civil Rights Act is the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which among other provisions provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.[4]It does not take much imagination to see how this can be applied to nurse abuse in the operating room by surgeons.STATE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWSMany states have adopted anti-discrimination legislation which, to some extent, is similar and even mirrors the federal laws. The most specific is California AB 1825 which requires employers of 50 or more employees to provide all supervisory employees with formal education consisting of 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention[13] every 2 years. The final regulations were issued by the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) which published the finding that failure to comply with AB 1825 will open the door to sexual harassment lawsuits and make it harder to prove in court that the (your) organization took reasonable steps to correct sexual harassment.A similar law in Connecticut requires that all supervisory personnel be given 2 hours of harassment prevention instruction within 6 months after becoming a supervisor. Additional training within 3 years is encouraged.Maine Title 26, Section 808 requires that employers of 15 or more employees train all their employees about workplace harassment and discrimination within 1 year. The specifics of the training are not defined.Other states have approved anti-discrimination laws, but training is not required for compliance. Federal anti-discrimination rules and training requirements apply in all states.ATTORNEY ADVERTISINGIt is only necessary to open a yellow page phone book or access Google or any other search engine to find advertising from multiple law firms seeking clients. The law firms promise to address potential discrimination claims using state and federal courts. Nearly all of the firms offer a contingency fee arrangement, or a no risk to the client lawsuit alleging, among other complaints, sexual harassment, the creation of a hostile work environment, and employment discrimination. In view of the media-publicised hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and employment discrimination awards, it is a surprise, not an expectation, that some operating room nurse has not thought about how to respond to an aggressive surgical attack instead of ignoring the torment. Sooner or later, however, this is bound to happen.DEFENDING HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT CLAIMSThere are two separate areas of potential problems for the abusive surgeon which may call for a legal defense. The first one is the institution and the second, a court of law. Only two theories are available to the defense.What Dr. X said does not meet the “severe or pervasive” definition of harassment laws. He didn’t mean it. He is sorry. She is oversensitive and he was just talking and making a joke.[9] This defense theory can be best described as the “I didn’t know the gun was loaded” defense.This claim represents a violation of my First Amendment rights of free speech.This line of defense has a more substantial chance of success. Professor of Law at UCLA, Eugene Volokh, has written extensively about Freedom of Speech and Workplace Harassment Laws.[9] He reported a big free speech win in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Huffington Post.[19] The court opined that in an academic community, a professor's expression on a matter of public concern (even if offensive to some) does not constitute harassment.DISCUSSIONThis paper aims to address the questions: “Are there risks and consequences when spine surgeons mistreat their predominately female operating room nursing staff/colleagues and what can we do about it?” It became quickly obvious to us that this could not be handled in the same manner as our usual literature search. Medical literature does not address abusive behavior problems except obliquely. Even nursing literature tends to shy away from this topic. We had to turn to industry and the law to answer these questions.Gender discrimination at work has been described in Psych Central News, an internet psychology journal.[10] In Forbes Magazine, an excellent article by Michael Morris and Susan Fiske quoted Susan Fiske's keynote address at the Columbia Business School Conference in 2012. Dr. Fiske is a Princeton University psychologist. The theme of the conference was that despite decades of activism, legislation, and human resources programs, discrimination at work continues unabated but manages to hide itself better.[8]Many of us are products of training programs which profess to practice the Socratic Method of Education.[1,3] This educational theory is based on teaching by dialogue rather then lectures and is very appealing until it becomes a method of practicing resident abuse at Grand Rounds. The fellows, who are at times leading the conferences, are expected to follow the example of the Chief and actively participate in resident hazing in order to "make men of them." Small wonder that after this education, some of us turn to nurse and colleague abuse, particularly if they are women and appear to be defenseless.The term “sexual harassment” was used for the first time in 1973 in a report to the President and Chancellor of MIT about various forms of gender issues. It may have been used by various women's groups as early as 1970.[11,12] It is essential to understand that sexual harassment does not have to include demands for sexual favors. It is sufficient that it can be interpreted as being gender specific and severe and pervasive. Employment discrimination law recognizes several protected categories. Among the 16 categories listed, Sex or Gender and Gender Orientation are pertinent to this paper.[9]Professor Volokh, in his excellent paper in the Georgetown Law Journal,[20] describes the fact that the law's vagueness increases its breath and makes it open to interpretation. He advises to stay wide of the unlawful zone and eliminate any possible offensive behavior and severe and pervasive practices to create a hostile or abusive environment at work. If an employer continues to question his attorney to describe specific potential consequences of violations of the law, Professor Volokh advises counsel to answer: “We won’t know until it gets to court.” That is exactly the potential fate of the surgeon who insists on abusing co-workers.A complaint to the governing body of the institution (hospital, medical center) leads to a hearing by a medical staff committee. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint, the resolution may be dismissal of the complaint or may include a number of remedial actions up to and including revocation of privileges. When that happens or when a suspension or abridgement of privileges is recommended, the case invariably will end up in court. It would be unusual to have operating room nurse abuse alone result in a penalty so severe that a report to the National Practitioner Data Bank and the State Board of Medical Examiners becomes mandatory. Any adverse decision about clinical privileges meets the mandatory reporting criteria in every state.[5,7] To result in privilege abridgment, or more, the physician would have to be considered a disruptive physician whose continued presence on the medical staff would interfere in quality health care delivery. Very few judges are likely to reverse that kind of decision.During my tenure as a Department Chair, President of the Medical Staff, and Chair of the Medical Board (Medical Executive Committee), and my many years of membership on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of the University Hospital, we had several instances dealing with impaired physicians and only one instance when a revocation of privileges was recommended because of disruptive behavior. The physician who came under review did not just abuse operating room nurses, but also engaged in hostile and threatening behavior in other areas of the institution.Most industries recognized some time ago that it is not a good business practice to use gender-specific names and terms which part of the workforce might find demeaning or offensive. Both I and Dr. Wille, as professional pilots, experienced this alternate terminology when we were directed to change the name of “cockpit” to “flight deck” and “stewardess” to “flight attendant”. It was only after the change in name was official that most of us recognized the potential problem which could be interpreted as contributing to the creation or maintenance of a hostile work environment.The First Amendment to the Constitution, adopted on December 15, 1789, simply states: Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for regress of grievances. In the beginning, the First Amendment applied only to the federal governments, but in the 20th century the Supreme Court incorporated the Establishment Clause which made the amendment apply to the states as well.[15–18]It is the First Amendment freedom of speech clause which is used to defend most of the verbal harassment complaints which are the discussed in this paper.CONCLUSIONSThere are indeed potential risks and consequences of operating room nurse/colleagues abuse and these include violation of institutional and medical staff bylaws and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with potential monetary awards which are not covered by most malpractice carriers. If the awards include punitive damages, they are designed to punish and are not recoverable from any insurance held by the defendant.Finally, for those surgeons who have a self-value far in excess of what any nurse has, it is worth to consider the following as a valuable lesson of what the world thinks of nurses: On the retirement of Lieutenant General Eric B. Schoomaker, MD, PhD, as the US Army Surgeon General, President Obama nominated and the US Senate confirmed the appointment of Major General Patricia D. Horoho as the US Army Surgeon General. General Horoho served as the Commanding Officer of the Army Nurse Corps and Assistant Surgeon General prior to be given the Army Medical Command. On December 5, 2011, General Raymond T. Ordierno, the Army Chief of Staff, promoted Major General Horoho to Lieutenant General and administered the oath to swear her in as the Army's Chief Medical Officer. General Horoho is the first woman and the first nurse to serve as the Commanding Officer of the Medical Corps. Think about that the next time you decide to abuse a nurse or a woman colleague.[2]FootnotesDisclaimer: The authors of this paper have received no outside funding and have nothing to disclose.Available FREE in open access from: Areeda PE. The Socratic Method. Harv Law Rev. 1996;109:911–22.2. Army News Service. 1996;109:911–922.3. Benson HH. Socratic Wisdom: The Model of Knowledge in Plato's Early Dialogues. New York: Oxford University Press; 2000. pp. ix–292.4. Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination: EEOP/Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Office of Special Councel (OSC) Merit System Protection Board (MSPB)5. Gross JC. Article Regarding Disruptive Physicians. [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 15]. Available from:,2012 .6. Huhman H. How to Recognize Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 15]. Available from: .7. McDonald O, Silbaugh B. Disruptive Physician Behavior. Quantia MD. 20118. Morris M, Fiske S. The New Face of Workplace Discrimination. [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 15]. Available from: .9. OPM web site. [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 15]. Available from: , , Psych Central News Editor. Gender Discrimination in the Workplace. [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 15]. Available from: .11. Rowe M. Saturn's Rings: Graduate and Professional Education of Women, American Association of University Women. 197412. Rowe M, Bendersky C. Workplace to Society. New York: Cornell University Press; 2001. Workplace Justice, Zero Tolerance and Zero Barriers.13. State of California: AB 1825, June 27, 2003.14. US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Sexual Harassment. 2003 Jun 27;15. United States Supreme Court: Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 199816. US Supreme Court: Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687. 199417. US Supreme Court: Everson v. Board of Education. 194718. US Supreme Court: Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, U.S. 755. 199819. Volokh E. Freedom of Speech vs. Workplace Harassment Law–A Big Free Speech Win in the Ninth Circuit. [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 15]. Available from: .20. Volokh E. What Speech Does “Hostile Work Environment” Harassment Law Restrict? Georgetown Law J. 1997;85:627.

What are the most unknown facts on the Second World War?

If you were living on Jupiter Island 75 years ago, on Feb. 21, 1942, you might have been partying at the local drinking hole, relaxing in your living room, or asleep in bed. All of a sudden, you would have felt the ground beneath you vibrate.You would have heard a boom in the distance, so powerful it rattled dishes and windows and even broke some. You might even have been knocked out of bed. Far off at sea, you might have seen a dull white glow. A short time later, you might see two lifeboats pull up to the beach behind your house. Several men would stagger off, coated in oil. They would be the crew of the Republic.You would then discover that living on America’s coast had come with a price. America was at war, and the war had come literally to your backyard.If you lived in America’s heartland, you knew the war all too well; you sent your sons and husbands, and some didn’t come back. But you never really felt personal fear. The war was in strange lands far across the sea.But if you lived on the coast of Florida, you could see the war glowing on the horizon. You could see its smoke billowing and feel its heat. You could encounter its dead tangled in seaweed on the beach. And you lived with a special fear reserved for civilians in war’s way: You went to bed every night wondering if a shell would crash down on you while you slept. After all, just offshore a few feet below the pleasure boaters and commercial fishermen the metal sharks lay in wait.In those first few weeks after Pearl Harbor pulled America headlong into a two-front war, the untersee boots of Adolf Hitler’s navy worked with virtual impunity. Off Florida alone, between February and May 1942, they sank 24 ships. Sixteen went down in a 150-mile stretch of Florida coastline from Cape Canaveral to Boca Raton.The commanders were under strict orders to sink ships; nothing more. Hitler’s plans at that point didn’t include massacring civilians in American cities. But South Floridians didn’t know that. They painted their headlights black, took part in blackouts and drills, patrolled beaches on foot or on horseback. Jumpy authorities rounded up virtually anyone with a German-sounding accent or Asian features. Rumors spread like fire on an oil slick. And some of the very features that attracted tourists to Florida made it the logical place for soldiers as well.The state, a strategic asset for its geography and climate, became an armed camp. Its hotels turned into barracks. Hospitals, bases and airfields sprang up, increasing from eight in 1940 to 172 in 1943. The influx of soldiers led to the boom that changed Florida’s population from about 2 million in 1940 to nearly 3 million a decade later. The sleepy southern locale became one of the nation’s most important and fastest-growing states.Florida would never be the same.Authorities weren’t messing around when they conducted a practice blackout Jan. 11, 1942 that threw into darkness a 300-mile stretch of South Florida coastline from Stuart to Key West.“It was an impressive and sobering sight,” wrote one reporter as he stood on a rooftop and watched the twin tourist towns of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach enveloped in black, “to see these two large municipalities as dark as a pocket when the huge observation plane soared over the resorts, its throbbing motors breaking the stillness, which seemed to hang like a pall over everything.”The war footing touched everyone. Beachfront hotels and restaurants, worried about business, initially resisted orders for coastal cities to dim lights so ships wouldn’t be backlit. It was not until April 11, 1942 that Gov. Spessard Holland ordered a dimming of lights facing the sea. Street lights were hooded to cast only a small circle of light directly down. Ten donated station wagons were fitted with blankets as emergency standby ambulances.Paranoia led authorities to detain people on the slightest suspicion of subterfuge. In the first days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, FBI agents and local police were under strict orders to pick up any Japanese. “Loafers” unknown to police were to be run off and any aliens held for questioning. The FBI searched a Japanese-owned import-export shop on Palm Beach’s ritzy Worth Avenue and posted an armed sailor out front who answered no questions of nosy reporters.The former Countess Erica von Haacke, of the Silesia region of Germany, was “taken into custody” in Palm Beach while wintering from New Jersey with her family. And the FBI arrested Baron Fritz von Opel — yachtsman, scion of the Opel carmaker family, and inventor of the rocket-propelled car on Feb. 26, 1942 at his Palm Beach residence along with his wife and two Hungarians.By late February 1942, news reports showed, FBI agents made 55 raids in the West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale areas, arresting 29 suspected enemy aliens and confiscating guns and cameras.Unlike their West Coast counterparts, Japanese residents of Florida — the state’s 1940 census lists only 217 statewide — were not subject to the mass relocation to government-run camps. But the government froze the assets of George Morikami, former member of the Yamato colony in Boca Raton. It ran his farm and lodged servicemen in his home. It also confiscated land owned by the Yamato colony family of Hideo Kobayashi for the Boca Raton Army Air Field.The Coast Guard set up observation towers every three miles, at places such as the Lake Worth casino. A polo grounds held barracks for about 280 U.S. Coast Guard beach watchers. The men, each armed with a .38-caliber pistol strapped to the waist and a rifle in a boot, rode horses shipped in from Fort Riley, Kansas.Teenagers who never had been in a saddle were drafted for their local knowledge and rode eight to 10 hours a night. Where horses couldn’t maneuver, 30 trained dogs took over. Authorities got a break in early 1942 when a big winter storm blocked Jupiter Inlet for the duration of the war, enabling patrols to negotiate most of the coastline.Patrol dogs ran people off the beaches at night. And anyone crossing the bridges between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach encountered an armed sentry who shined his flashlight, demanded identification and sometimes searched cars. Just to cross the bridges, residents had to be fingerprinted and photographed for an ID card.The nation’s third Civil Air Patrol squadron formed at Morrison Field. The “Coastal Picket Patrol” and the “Mosquito Fleet”— rag-tag flotillas of pleasure and charter boats — patrolled for subs and rescued survivors from torpedoed ships.And at “The Hill,” the complex just west of downtown West Palm Beach that housed Palm Beach High School, Junior High and Elementary, stories of sinkings, attacks and Germans coming ashore flew through classrooms. Teachers would hush students, saying, “If you didn’t see it, don’t talk about it. The enemy might be listening.”In the first half-year of war, the Germans sank 397 ships and killed some 5,000 people, about twice as many as died in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. University of Florida professor Michael Gannon, in the 1990 book “Operation Drumbeat,” called it “a six-months long massacre.” He alleged monumental incompetence and delay by American authorities, focused on the Pacific. The “Gulf Sea Frontier” defensive force was responsible for 45,814 miles of serpentine Atlantic and Gulf coastline from Maine to Mexico. It had six ships, four under repair, and 32 planes, nearly half of them unarmed.The German strategy was to interrupt the flow of supplies along the U.S. coast and to England, lay waste to the Allies’ merchant fleet and strike a propaganda blow by letting Americans watch burning ships from their beaches. Germans saw an opportunity to prey on tankers plying the crowded and narrow shipping lanes off the Florida coast, where traffic ranked second in the United States and sixth in the world. Reports said about one of every 12 ships sunk worldwide in 1942 went down in Florida waters leaving hundreds dead and sending millions of dollars in cargo and oil to the bottom.Emergency workers at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach saw as many as 50 seamen in a night, some foreigners unable to describe injuries ranging from broken bones to oil burns. Many who could speak English were too busy screaming in agony.The first Florida victim of Operation Drumbeat was the Pan Massachusetts, hit in broad daylight off Cape Canaveral on Feb. 19.Two days later, at 11 p.m. Feb. 21, the first sinking along Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast: the Republic was hit 3½ miles northeast of the lighthouse.“After 150 seconds, two detonations, under the bridge and astern in the engine room, where the sparks fly around the air,” U-504 commander Fritz Poske noted in German in his war diary, later translated by historians. The engine room blast killed five of the 34 crewmen.Stuart insurance agent Ralph Hartman recalled that night. It was his 18th birthday and he and friends went to Jensen Beach. As Hartman dropped a nickel in a jukebox, there was a dull boom. The building shook and windows rattled. Ralph and his pals dashed outside. Far out at sea, they saw a dull white glow.“It was the first time,” recalled Hartman, “that we knew the war was coming home to us.”At seven that same night, Feb. 22, the 21-year-old, 10,277-ton W.D. Anderson was heading north 12 miles north of Jupiter with a cargo of crude oil. The crew was at chow. Two men had already eaten and were on watch at the back of the 500-foot ship, swapping tales. One was Frank Leonard Terry, 23. He was sipping coffee when a torpedo hit the engine room with a dull thud. It was from U-504, killer of the Republic.“The ship stood, in a fraction of a second, from forward to astern in flames,” German commander Poske wrote. “After 12 seconds, second (torpedo) hits in the stern; the rear part broke off.”Terry jumped over a railing and dove into the water.“There was heavy smoke all ‘round and fire,” the retired steelworker and part-time security guard, living near Philadelphia, recalled in 1992. “I heard a lot of screaming and hollering. I could feel heat and smoke.”Terry dragged a shipmate through the water, then had to let him go. He watched the man burn. He swam under the inferno until he thought his lungs would burst, then treaded freezing water with no shirt or shoes for three hours, coated in oil. He insisted to rescuers that sharks had bitten off his legs until they showed him his numb limbs.Terry, who would die at 96 in 2014, was the only survivor of 36 men.“It was my first trip to Florida. I didn’t like the experience. When I finally thought of my pals, they were in my prayers. I was a nervous wreck. The Germans? I figure it was war. It was their duty.”Local media covered the sinkings but had to wait two days for the federal Office of Censorship to clear publication. A note assured Palm Beach Post readers the paper was on the job but hampered by government, reminding them, “If it’s anything we can’t print, you shouldn’t be talking about it.”In May 10 ships sank in 10 days. Among them:At 1 p.m. on May 4, the British tanker Eclipse, a mile off Boynton Inlet, never expected a torpedo from the direction of land, but U-564 had maneuvered between it and the coast a few hundred yards away. At 11 that night, near Jupiter Island, U-564 struck the DeLisle.At 11:45 p.m. on May 5, U-333 commander Peter Cremer targeted the Java Arrow off Fort Pierce. Four hours later, U-333 found the Amazone off Hobe Sound. Later, off Jupiter Island, U-333 claimed its third kill in five hours: the Halsey.Two days later, on May 8, U-564 made a daring daylight attack on the Ohioan off Boca Raton. At 3:20 a.m. on May 9, 3½ miles east of Delray Beach, U-564 made another strike: the Lubrafol.By mid-May of 1942, the United States finally instituted convoys. Attacks tapered off; only four off Florida in 1943 and none in 1944 and 1945.Ironically, the deadliest disaster of the war was caused only indirectly by the Germans. Two ships under wartime orders to travel without lights collided off Jupiter Inlet just before 11 p.m. on Oct. 20, 1943. The empty Gulf Bell rammed the Gulfland, filled with gasoline. Of 116 seamen on the two ships, 88 died. The Gulf Bell ran aground. The Gulfland burned off Hobe Sound for a remarkable seven weeks.By war’s end, the Allies had sunk many U-Boats, but apparently none off Florida. A 1945 U.S. Navy report said the Coast Guard cutter Nike “probably” sank a U-Boat off the Jupiter lighthouse on May 18, 1942. Neither U.S. nor German reports documented any such sinking.Operation Drumbeat had left its legacy: a line of ships lying on the bottom, cargo strewn on the ocean floor and oil oozing from ruptured tanks.The militarization of Florida also left its mark. Many bases were transformed to public use. Soldiers heading home from the front got heroes’ welcomes as their trains passed through West Palm Beach. Those men, and those who had been stationed in South Florida, went home with stories of the paradise they had left. Many later returned for good.

How powerful is Shahbuddin? Can anyone share a real life incident?

Aftermath of the incident, a committee was formed and this committee has given the report as follow..The state PUCL constituted a committee consisting of Dr. Prabhakar Sinha, National Vice President, Shri Ramchandra Lal Das, State President, Prof. Vinay K. Kantha, State Vice President, Shri Kishori Das, State General Secretary and Dr. B.D. Prasad, a member of the State Council to enquire into the incident of the encounter in which nine persons including a policeman lost their lives and several were injured. The Committee visited Pratappur on 01.04.2001 where it met scores of villagers and spent several hours visiting scores of houses which were allegedly vandalized by the police on 16th March, 2001. Those who spoke to the committee included the members of the families of the men who were killed or injured and the others whose houses had been vandalized.The eye witnesses included the wife of Md. Shahabuddin, the R.J.D. M.P., his father and many others who had been looking after his bungalow. After spending several hours at Pratappur, the Committee went to the Hussain Ganj Police Station, where it met its Officer In charge, Sheoji Singh along with many other police Officers, including some officers from Mufassil Thana. The FIRs. Connected with the incident, the police dossier in which Md. Shahabuddin figures and reports appearing in the media were also examined. On 08.04.2001, a visit was made to Patna Medial College & Hospital to meet Ekramul and a police officer named Rameshwar Patwari who were undergoing treatment for the injuries caused by the firing resulting in their being paralyzed.The District Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Superintendent of Police and some others who were involved in the incident had been transferred from Siwan and could not be contacted. The M.P. Md. Shahabuddin also could not be contacted. Since they could not be contacted to obtain their version, care has been taken not to attribute any specific act to anyone of them regarding their role in the firing and vandalism.2. The incident in which the police and the supporters of Md. Shahabuddin, the R.J.D. M.P. engaged each other for hours in an encounter resulting in the loss of lives and an open challenge to the administration cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the background and authority of the concerned M.P. Md. Shahabuddin who was first elected to the Bihar Vidhan Sabha and later to the Lok Sabha. He has been elected to the Lok Sabha for the last two elections. Before entering the electoral fray, he had already earned notoriety for his muscle power. Since 1985 only, he has been involved in more than thirty criminal cases, which include allegations of murder, kidnapping and possessing illegal arms and explosives etc. Since he enjoyed full support of the R.J.D. government, he could commit crimes with impunity, as the administration did not dare take appropriate action against him. When the State itself promotes and protects a person with such criminal record and the party in power offers him its ticket to fight elections, he acquires an image of invincibility. The M.P. from Siwan grew into such a figure and his terror became so great that no one except the C.P.I. (M-L) Liberation had the guts to challenge him.This party lost many of its men including late Chandrashekhar, a student leader of the Jawaharlal Nehru University who was shot dead in full view of the people while addressing a meeting at Siwan because he defied his reign of terror in the district. So great is his terror that nobody comes forward to depose as a witness in cases against him, and as a result, he gets acquitted. Later on this terror became so all embracing that even during elections the people did not dare speak against him. The police were demoralised primarily because they knew that the officers were generally posted at Siwan who were more than willing to dance to his tune. He had the audacity to fire at the S.P. of the district Mr. Singhal, who was promptly transferred when he instituted a case against him. The police allege that slapping of junior police officers was quite a routine affair for him. He is alleged to have slapped at least twelve sub inspectors of police in the district.How servile the district administration was to Md. Shahabuddin can be understood by what the Editor of the Hindustan Times, Patna reports: "I asked the District Magistrate, Rashid Ahmad Khan, during the last election about the fear psychosis that has gripped Siwan and how not a single person was prepared to speak against the RJD don in the open. Pat came the reply: 'For the people of Siwan, Shahabuddin is as respected a leader as Gandhi is for the entire nation People speak in favour of him out of love, not out of fear.' The same Mr. Khan was the D.M. on the fateful day.Different Versions of The Incident: 1. The version of the police is available in the different FIRs filed by them on the incident. The F.I.R. filed by the D.S.P. Sanjiv Kumar on 15.03.2001 (Mufasil Case No. 32/2001) states that following information, that an accused wanted in several cases (cited in the FIR) was intimidating examinees of Matriculation examinations at the Daroga Raj College Examination centre, he proceeded to arrest him. He was accompanied by several police men, named and they reached the college at 15.30 p.m. There he found Md. Shahabuddin with several others carrying fire arms in a state of readiness. When he told the M.P. that he had to arrest the people wanted in some cases, the MP lost his temper and said, "How will you arrest my men; in Siwan only my fiat runs. It is beyond anybody's power to arrest my men", "But his police party advanced to arrest the wanted men. On this, the MP grew very angry (Aag Baboola Ho Gaye), and ordered his men to attack the police. They including the MP himself began to fire on the police with various arms including pistols and A.K.-47. The police did not fire back for fear that the students could be injured. The criminals advanced to kill and snatch the firearms of the police. The police retreated, and the criminals also fled in their respective vehicles.The F.I.R. by Sheoji Singh OC of Hussain Ganj police station filed on 17.03.2001 in case no. 38/2001 relates to the raid of Pratappur on 16.03.2001, and the occurrences there. According to him, on 15.03.2001, Md. Shahabuddin and his associates obstructed the police and also fired on the police force when they went to arrest a wanted accused Manoj Kumar Pappu. They received reliable information that Pappu along with some other persons named therein are staying at the house of the local M.P. Md. Shahabuddin. When he discussed the matter with the S.P. he directed him to arrange for necessary police force for a raid, and he also said that he would also join it. As soon as the police party reached a spot about 100 yards south to the tea-shop, the police party was fired upon by the criminals who had been lying in wait in the houses situated to the east and the west of the road, and were firing from modem fire arms with which they were equipped. In the meanwhile, the S.P., D.M. and a Iittle later the D.I.G. also reached. From the house in the west. Md. Shahabuddin, Satyendra Tiwary, Manoj Kumar alias Pappu and a criminal Guddu along with 8-10 others were firing on the police to kill and loot their arms.The constable Basuki Nath Pandey was hit by a bullet coming from the house situated in the west. He showing courage fired back. The other police force also fired in self defence and also to protect the arms. The criminals continued the firing and advanced further and torched three vehicles of the police. Then he requested the S.P. for additional force. When the Control Room was directed to send more force immediately, information was given by it that the U.P. Police which had come for some raid were also there. Considering the gravity of the situation, the S.P. requested the U.P. police through the control room to proceed towards Terhi Ghat side. After half an hour, the information that the U.P. police had arrived was received. Meanwhile the police were gradually advancing, but the criminals (named in the F.I.R.) along with several others continued to fire and retreat. In course of the encounter, Inspector Ram Singh, constable Balister Giri and Rameshwar Paswan were injured. The police found some dead people along with arms.Then they reached Md. Shahabuddin's 'Baithak' and searched his house (Awas), and found two live hand grenades and one empty shell. From a criminal named Hasan Mian who was on the roof one loaded A.K-47 with six live bullets were recovered. 10 to 12 criminals were seen fleeing while firing from their weapons. They were also exploding bombs. The police chased and arrested a few. From the south the U.P. police were also firing. (The FIR then names some dead and arrested and also gives the details of who from amongst the police force fired and how many rounds).The next F.I.R. is also by the Hussain Ganj OC Sheoji Singh (Case No. 33/2001). It gives the details or the arms recovered by the police after the criminals had left the village. According to it, the following were found:1. 3 cartridges of S.L.R. from the pocket of deceased Feroz alias Teni.2. From the 'Baithak' of Md. Shahabuddin, one regular Rifle of .315 bore with cartridges loaded in it.3. 9 mm pistol with ten cartridges from the floor near the body of deceased Arif alias Sheikh Wasim.4. From the roof of the deceased Haroon Mian one AK-47 with 61oaded cartridges.5. Two hand grenades.6. From near the deceased Ainul Haque AK-47 with 16 cartridges in the magazine.7. From near the deceased Quuddus Khan, AK-47 with 18 cartridge.Another F.I.R. is by one Mahesh Kumar Mehta, who has been deputed as the body guard of Md. Shahabuddin. He belongs to the Bihar Military Police and is a constable, his No. being 29 B.M.P. Dehri. According to him, on that day he heard that some criminals had surrounded (the M.P.), and they took their position, but then he saw that it was the police that had surrounded from all sides, and then firing between the M.P. and his supporters on one hand and the police on the other began.They hid themselves to save their lives at different places. After the firing came to an end the police proceeded to their guardroom. They saw that the lock of the guardroom was opened, and two S.L.R. and cartridges were missing which Shahabuddin and his supporters had taken away. One S.L.R. was left behind.The versions of the D.M Rashid Ahmad Khan is available from his letter to the Commissioner and Secretary (Home Special Branch) published in the Hindustan Times, Patna. According to him, he was informed by the SDO Mansoor Ahmad Ejazi at 9.45 p.m. on 15.03.2001 that in the afternoon the SDPO Sanjiv Kumar had gone to execute a warrant of arrest against Manoj Kumar who is well known as the President of RJD. 'When the SDPO tried to arrest Mr. Pappu, the Honourable Member of Parliament, Md. Shahabuddin objected to it. The MPs men and the police perhaps also came to blows because of which the situation became tense. Soon after getting this information from the SDO, I contacted the S.P. Siwan, on phone to find out about the incident but the S.P. appeared to be in a foul mood and said that, "enough is enough, and that we police men will fix the M.P. and his men." The D.M. then claims to have informed the Commissioner, Saran and the D.I.G. of Police apart from the DGP. On receiving instruction from the D.I.G. who had reached Siwan the D.M. went to see him at the Circuit House at 10 am on 16.03.2001 and was subjected to a murderous attack! At 10.15 a.m. armed Jawans of the police reached the gates of the Circuit House and entered its premises shouting "Kill them, kill them, kill the D.M. and the D.I.G." They were accompanied by SDPO Sanjiv Kumar and probationer Dy. S.P. Ashwini Kumar Singh. There was then sound of two gun shots. Then the D.M. and the D.I.G. hid in a room and started shouting for help and "prayed to Allah and the Lord as well".He mentions the brutal knocking on the door by the policemen and how the door was on the point of giving way and how the police men also pointed their rifles at him through the window. According to him, the SDPO asked him to accompany the police to Pratappur to teach Shahabuddin a lesson.Then he describes how they hid in the bathroom and labours the point why he did not want to go to Pratappur as the police were in a foul mood, though the S.P. assured him that that nothing of the sort would happen. "Left with no alternative, I went downstairs with them against my wishes and got into the S.P.'s vehicle'. When the D.I.G. did not accompany them they once against started shouting "kill, kil1'." I got so scared that I rushed back to the D.I.G. upstairs."The D.M. has this to say about the incident at Pratappur:"We were about to cross the first Tola of Pratapur village when gunfire could be heard coming from the village from 2 or 3 directions".He further states, "a heavy exchange of fire continued for a long time. There was a lull in the firing, and as the brickshed behind which the D.I.G. was hiding had caught fire, the D.I.G. and the Jawans who had been injured, came out of their place of hiding and fled. It was then that I, too, fled towards a house behind me. The S.P. then told the D.I.G. that a message had been sent to the U.P. police, they had arrived to help. The U.P. police, he said, was accompanied by the D.I.G. Gorakhpur. The situation was such that the D.I.G. Saran had to keep hidden everything that would identify him. Afraid as he was of the Jawans who were angry with him, he had hidden his name plate, police cap, belt and other things in the shed. When the firing from the village subsided somewhat two and half hours later, the SDPO and the commandoes began advancing and moved to the next tola. The D.I.G. then told me that we could now return.At about 3.45 pm the two of us began to make our way back."The village and the villagers' tale of woe: The village looked affluent compared to an average village in the state. Most of the houses were 'pucca'. Many of them including that of Md. Shahabuddin's ancestral house were old which led to the inference that they were not built with money recently earned. Shahabuddin 'Baithak' was newly built and was well-furnished. The people who spoke to us including those who were in the charge of Shahabuddin's 'Baithak' were courteous and hospitable. They had cell phones with which they seemed to be constantly in touch with some people. Our arrival was followed by the arrival of a few jeans and T-shirt clad young men who reached there by motor bikes, and accompanied us to the houses which had been vandalized. We were shown the cars in Md. Shahabuddin's compound which had been burnt. There were altogether seven vehicles. They were Baleno (2), Maruti Van (2). The damaged vehicles included one ambassador, one Tata Sierra, one Bullet motorcycle. His Baithak had been completely vandalized, furniture smashed to pieces, almirah broken open, photographs and other articles meant for decoration and a telephone set totally destroyed. One of Md. Shahabuddin's photograph had been shot through. When the committee visited his home, his wife Ms. Heena said that the police broke open the door of their bed-room looking for her husband. She was so terrified that they would kill her and their son if they knew their identity that she told them that she was Md. Shahabuddin's sister and dressed their son as a girl to conceal his identity.The committee spent about four hours visiting the houses which had been vandalised and meeting the members of the families of the people killed or injured. According to the villagers the following were killed by the police:1. Nazimuddin, a pipe fitter who was on leave from his job in the Middle East. 2. Ainul Haque (65), who was a farmer. 3. Feroz (18) was unemployed. 4. Quuddus Khan (45) worked in Dubai. 5. Arif (12-14) was a student. 6. Harun (25) had installed a 'Chakki' (grinding mill). 7. One Hindu (name unknown). 8. One Muslim (name unknown). The villagers cremated the one and buried the other. Nobody had gone to the village to claim or enquire about them till 1 April, 2001.The following were injured: 1. Resham (12) bullet injury in the neck. 2. Ekramul (25) shot on the side leading to the paralysis of the lower portion of the body including the legs. He was hospitalised and was in the PMCH till 8 April, 2001. 3. Mahfooz (14), who said that the police shot him at his house without any rhyme or reason. 4. Phool Muhammad (65) was shot after the police broke open his house and dragged his son who was shot dead. 5. Shabiullah (45) injured by beating. 6. Neehan (7) is being treated at Gorakhpur. 7. One Sharma who works as a carpenter and is an inhabitant of Shankarpur was shot at the thigh. (The people mentioned above were not available at the village for verification of the injuries by the Committee).Ms. Mazaronisa and Ms Sami, the wife and the sister-in-Iaw respectively of Nizamuddin said that the police broke open their door and entered the house hurling filthy abuses at them. "We told the police that both of them worked abroad, but they took them away, sent one to the jail and killed the other". Rasmuddin, Nizamuddin's brother is in jail.Quuddus was also caught from the house and killed according to Tohhed Khan, his brother. Quuddus was to leave for Dubai on 20 March, 2001. The committee was shown his passport and the ticket.The mother of Ejaz said that her son was arrested at about 4 p.m. The police asked him about Shahabuddin's whereabout. Md. Masud said that he had gone to the Masjid for offering Namaz at 12 noon. When he returned, he hid in uncle Kalamuddin's house. The police caught him about 4 p.m. made him sit on a 'chauki' and then shot at him. He was hit on the right hand above the elbow. They left him bleeding and went away.The people at the house of deceased Arif said that Arif was caught from the Masjid. A girl from the family was also shot, and she sustained injury on the thigh.Phool Muhammad (66), whose son was shot dead said that the police broke open his door and shot at him. He sustained bullet injury on the chest and arms. Then they took his son away. He heard the sound of a gun fire. His son, according to him, was shot dead on the nearby road.The women in the house of Ekramul, who is undergoing treatment at PMCH, showed the committee holes made in the wall by the bullets fired from very close range. It was at the level of the bed. There was a big stain of blood on the wall near the bed. They said that the police used filthy language against the female inmates and shot Ekramul.Ekramul works in Gujarat and was there during the earthquake and had come to his village in the aftermath of the earthquake. The police asked him about Md. Shahabuddin. After shooting and injuring him, they left him writhing in plain. It were the people from the Dainik Jagarn, who took him from there.Many accused the police of having taken away their money, ornaments and other valuables.Some of them are as follows:1. Nabirasul 2. Nainullah, 3. Maniar Prasad, 4. Deepa Devi. She also said that her daughter-in-Iaw was shot in the ear. 5. Asgar Nat, 6. Phool Muhammad, 7. Sheikh Jalil alleged that they took away a box containing a sum of rupees one lakh, which his son had sent for the construction of his house.Marks of bullets and evidence of vandalism: Scores of houses bore numerous marks of gunshot. Since it is an admitted fact that hundreds of rounds were fired by the police, it had to be so. Looking at the houses with those marks, one was reminded of the action by the army on a town before they enter to capture it, the idea being to break the last resistance. Many of the marks must have been made by the men of Md. Shahabuddin also, who kept the police engaged in a gun battle for several hours.Vandalism: The act of vandalism was so indiscriminate and widespread that its telltale evidence was too glaring to require any effort to search for them. The women of the vandalised houses spoke of the unmentionable abuses which were hurled at them. Many of them were also beaten up. The village presented irrefutable evidence of a police force which had run amuck and was out to wreak vengeance on the co- villagers of Md. Shahabuddin for no other reason than their belonging to his village.Statement of two policemen who participated in the police action: Sheoji Singh, the OC Hussainganj, who participated in the raid on Pratappur said that as soon as they reached the outskirt of the village they were greeted with a barrage of fire from the houses in which Shahabuddin's men were well-entrenched. He saw the police jeep catching fire and the police men including the officers jumping out of their burning vehicles. According to him, if the U.P. police had not come to their rescue they would not have returned alive. He also said that Shahabuddin had slapped several junior police officers in the past, and humiliated them in other ways. He said that they felt so humiliated that they felt like laying their uniform down. Speaking about Pratappur, he said that the police would dare not go to that village without adequate preparation so strongly armed were Shahabuddin and his men.Apart from illegal arms, there were 28 licensed arms at the village ten of which belonged to Shahabuddin's family including two issued to his wife. By chance some police officers from Mofussil including its OC also arrived and confirmed Singh's statement about Shahabuddin. They all appeared perturbed and shocked by the RJD leaders and ministers speaking against the police.Rameshwar Patwari, a police constable: He is a Tharu, and belonged to Bagaha police in West Champaran. He was posted at the residence of the D.M. Siwan. On 16 March, 2001, he accompanied him to the Circuit House. After some time, the policemen arrived there, and an altercation between the D.M. and the policemen took place. The policemen wanted to force the D.M. to accompany them to Pratappur. Later, the D.M. got scared and locked himself in a room of the Circuit House. After sometime, they all proceeded to Pratappur. Earlier, the D.I.G. was also in the hiding (Nukaaye huye the)."While our vehicle was still in motion, firing and bomb attack started as soon as we reached Pratappur. One constable was hit as soon as he alighted from the vehicle". He, according to him, is alive and has been transferred to Motihari. Patwari was in the D M.'s vehicle and he hid in a hut along with the D.M. When the hut caught fire they moved from there to another place. It was at this point of time when he was hit by a gunshot. He saw one of the three police jeeps catching fire. A little later, he was hurt by a bomb which resulted in his hand being scorched.The RJD chief did not go the meet him when he visited the PMCH to meet the injured persons from Pratappur. Even the D.M. Siwan whose guard duty he was assigned to did not care to meet him to extend any help. He said that he was not satisfied with his treatment at the PMCH.On the basis of the material before us the following are our findings:1. Md. Shahabuddin is a history sheeter with a 16 year long record of crimes, which include murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, possession of illegal arms and explosives and a number of other crimes. In the police dossier maintained by Hussain Ganj police station, his name figures under Class A. The patronage and defacto immunity from legal action offered to him by the RJD government gradually made him a law unto himself and gave him an aura of invincibility. Since the police has been ever willing to act as the hand-maiden of the power that be, they turned a blind eye to his criminal activities and allowed him to turn Siwan district into his fiefdom where his fiat ran. He grew so arrogant that he began to humiliate the police itself.At one time, he fired at the S.P. of the district Mr. Singhal, and when he filed a case, he was promptly transferred from there. Shahabuddin's reign of terror has been so complete that nobody dared depose against him in cases in which he was an accused. His sway was made complete by posting servile officers willing to act his stooge. The transferred D.M. Rashid Ahmad Khan, who reportedly found Shahabuddin as popular as Mahatma Gandhi, is probably the best specimen of this tribe. It is in this background that the fateful events have to be understood.2. On 15.03.2001, the SDPO Sanjiv Kumar went to Daroga Prasad Rai College to arrest Manoj Kumar alias Pappu, who was in the entourage of Md. Shahabuddin. To Shahabuddin, it was a challenge to his power and authority, which he could not ignore without losing his aura of invincibility, and used as he was to insulting and slapping policemen he did the same to the SDPO. The F.I.R. of the SDPO mentions that they were attacked by fire arms and does not mention being slapped, but it has been reported and is widely believed that Shahabuddin slapped him for his temerity to arrest someone from his entourage, especially in his very presence. The D.M.'s letter also mentions exchange of blows. The police officer had to beat a hasty retreat in utter public humiliation. This ignominy was bound to provoke the policemen of Siwan. It is this encounter between a history sheeter arrogant M.P. and a police officer which triggered the subsequent development.3. This reported statement of the S.P. B.L. Meena to the D.M. that 'enough is enough, and that the police men will fix the M.P. and his men' aptly describes the mood of the police. In this state of anger, the police acted more as an angry mob than a disciplined force capable of controlling their passions and working within the bounds of law. The D.M.'s allegation that the mob of the police men threatened him with death and compelled him and the DIG to lock themselves in the bath-room appears to be true. It also appears to be true that the D.I.G. and the D.M. did not go to Pratappur out of their own choice but out of fear. However, there is no basis for us to say anything about the conduct of any individual as alleged in the D.M.'s letter to the Home Commissioner referred to above.4. It has been accepted by all concerned including the villagers of Pratappur that the police party was attacked with firearms by Shahabuddin & Co. on reaching the outskirts of the village on the North. Police did not have the courage to advance, and so took position outside the village from where they continued to fire. One Police Inspector was killed and a few constables were injured in the firing. The police force had no courage to enter the village and felt that they were unequal to the apprehending Shahabuddin and his men. In desperation, they asked the U.P. Police to come to their rescue, and only after its arrival, they felt safe, as was clearly stated by Sheoji Singh, O.C.5. Md. Shahabuddin and his men kept the police engaged in a fierce gun battle for a few hours and also planned their escape. It appears that before the arrival of the U.P. police and being surrounded from the south, they made good their escape. Whether Md. Shahabuddin fled clad in a Sari to avoid being shot at as stated by the OC Hussainganj can neither be ascertained nor has any importance. The police entered the village only after the firing from Shahabuddin's men stopped, i.e., after the horses had bolted. The police were angry when they had left Siwan and were bound to be angrier after the killing of a colleague and injury to other police persons. It was in a mad fury that they entered the village and wreaked vengeance on all without any cause or justification. The vandalism they committed is not permitted against even the non-combatant citizens of an enemy territory during war. It was an unpardonable crime against innocent villagers and deserve stringent punishment. The law does not permit the police to enter the houses of the people and destroy property as was done at Pratappur.6. It is not possible for us to express any opinion on the allegation of theft of cash, gold etc by the villagers may seek a verdict from the Commission going to enquire into the incident.7. The inhabitants of Pratappur who were killed by the police have no criminal record. The police admitted this fact. Many of them worked outside the country and had come on leave. Thus villagers who were killed on the day fell victim to the blind vendetta of the police though they were innocent.The two persons who had not been identified even two weeks after their death and who was nobody might have been outsiders with criminal antecedents residing at the village.Those who were injured also were persons without any criminal record. The police are guilty of blooded murder of innocent persons, and also of shooting and injuring innocent villagers.We are not in a position to express any opinion on the allegation that a few were taken to the police station and shot there, as we could not investigate it.8.There is no reason to disbelieve the candid admission of cowardice and incompetence by the D.M. Rashid Ahmad Khan in his letter to the Home Commissioner, but the spectacle of the head district administration obsessed only with saving his life and skin as is evident from his graphic description of how he locked himself in the bath room and labouring the point that he did not want to go to Pratappur is not edifying or inspiring. From his letter, it is crystal clear that the police were distrustful of and hostile to him. The most obvious reason appears to be his role as Md. Shahabuddin's stooge.The D.M. is expected to make efforts to control a situation with courage and tact and not to lock himself in a bath-room praying for his life. After all, it is expected of an officer to do his duty even difficult or dangerous circumstances specially if he has to tackle his subordinate staff and not some dangerous enemy.His conduct has been disgraceful and absolutely unbecoming of an officer of his rank.9. The D.I.G. C.R. Caswan not only locked himself in the bathroom with the D.M. but also hid everything 'that would identify him'. According to the D.M. 'he had hidden his name plate, police cap, belt and other things in the shed.' Nothing can be more dishonorable for a police officer, specially, because he had been acting so disgracefully out of fear of men who were under his command.Recommendations:1. Md. Shahabuddin should be treated at par with other history sheeters of his notoriety and appropriate action should be taken to bring him to the book He should be arrested forthwith by executing non-bailable warrants against him, and vigorous action should be taken to end his so called aura of invincibility and his reign of terror so that the people feel safe in coming forward to appear as witnesses in cases against him.The case pertaining to the incidents of 15 and 16 March, 2001 should be entrusted to the CBI as the CID of the state cannot be expected to act impartially against an accused who is being honoured by the CM and the RJD chief.The red-carpet treatment given to him by the CM and the other government functionaries must end, as it is a slap on the face of the law-abiding citizens of the state, and a loud and clear message must be given that a criminal is a criminal undeserving of respect regardless of any office he might have managed to secure or get.2. The police men involved in killing, injuring or looting at Pratappur must be prosecuted for murder and other offences committed by them.3. Disciplinary action should be taken against the police men indulging in indiscipline or other forms of unruly behaviour including threatening the DM and DIG.4. Strict action should be taken against the DM of Siwan for cowardice, incompetence and conduct unbecoming of an officer A separate enquiry should also be conducted to find out the cause of the distrust and hostility of the police to him.5. Mr. CR Caswan should be punished for cowardice, incompetence and dishonorable conduct A DIG, who hides 'his name plate, police cap, belt and other things' out of fear from his own subordinate does not deserve to don them again.However, the government should decide on the action to be taken against such an officer.6 An enquiry should be conducted to find out whether two SLR allegedly taken away from the guard-room by Shahabuddin's men on 16.04.2001 were really taken away or were given to them before. It is pertinent to note that the police men whose SLRs are missing have been on Shahabuddin's personal staff for some time and serving him.7. Free and effective treatment should be made available to all persons injured in a police action regardless of his role or character. The right to life is inalienable and denial of effective treatment is tantamount to abridging one's right of life. Even enemies in a war are offered proper treatment. In this view of the matter, the villager from Pratappur and the police man, currently admitted to the PMCH should be sent to Delhi at the government cost for treatment, as they are likely to remain paralysed for life if not treated properly.8. The people whose houses were vandalized should be compensated for their loss after a proper assessment of the loss suffered by them.9. A definite rule should be framed to regulate payment of compensation to the dead and injured in different circumstances. The absence of any rule has resulted in compensation being paid in a very arbitrary manner often on untenable considerations. This gives a wrong message to the public and undermines respect for the rule of law.The role of political parties: The conduct of the political parties in the aftermath of the Pratappur encounter has been shameful. With the sole exception of the CPI (ML), all major parties have been directly or indirectly trying to woo Md. Shahabuddin when any party believing in the rule of law should have demanded his immediate arrest. Instead, he was an honoured guest at the CM's residence and was seen sitting between the Speaker of Bihar Assembly (of the Congress) and Mr. Laloo Prasad, the RJD chief. The police officers present on the occasion refrained from doing their duty of arresting him though a non-bailable warrant had been issued against him. The D.G.P. Bihar quietly slunk away when he came face to face with him (as widely reported in the press).According to an un-contradicted news item published in the Patna edition of the Times of India dated 29th March, 2001, the Congress was not ready to say that Shahabuddin was an outlaw. (Congress wont say if Siwan MP is an outlaw). The Hindustan Times, Patna dated 21.03.2001, published a news item' Samta Team sees plot against Shahabuddin'. According to them, there was a plot to teach the M.P. a lesson because of his differences with Laloo Prasad. Again The Hindustan Times, Patna dated 23.03.2001 reports under a news item, 'Parties vying to win over Shahabuddin' that curiously except for the C.P.I. (M-L) (Liberation), the party which continues to fight the terror unleashed by him in Siwan, the ruling as well as the opposition parties, be it the RJD, Samta, Congress or the BJP, have been guarded in their comments on the Siwan M.P. Instead, the parties have vehemently condemned the then S.P. (Siwan), Bachu Singh Meena, and the entire police set up in Siwan for acting in a biased manner' against the M.P. Only after their hope for getting his support to topple the Rabri Government was belied, a delegation of the BJP met the Governor seeking action against Shahabuddin.It is a matter of shame for any state when all of its major political parties vie with one another for winning over a notorious history sheeter to retain or get into power. The law abiding decent citizens feel deeply humiliated to find criminals dominating the government as well as the political parties. But such is the grim reality of Bihar for the present.

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