Political jugglery and gimmicks apart, hundreds of riots victims have been living an unwanted and neglected life in a remote pocket of Sitamarhi since 1992 in a state where the ruling Janta Dal United claims to be the champion of the minority rights.
Nitish Kumar may have pronounced a divorce with the BJP in the aftermath of the elevation of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate with the sole intent of projecting his much-hyped secular credentials, but back home the CM has no time for those riot victims who have lived in starvation on the fringes of the society for more than two decades now.
The 1992 Sitamarhi riots which triggered over a minor fight over the immersion of an idol may be forgotten chapter now. The wounds have healed but the scars are still deep and there has been no soothing balm from the successive governments.
More than 100 families fled to safety during the riots when members of both communities were baying for each other's blood and took shelter in Litchi Bagan area of Dumra in Sitamarhi. They have been living here ever since, unnoticed by the government and the officials.
Living amidst government apathy these people have now decided en mass to boycott the votes in the forthcoming elections.
Sameera Khatun still shudders as she recalls the nights of horror when villages were set ablaze. Tears trickle down her otherwise stoic face. She saw her closed ones being butchered in front of her eyes but now has complains against the government, "we have no electric supply, no Indira Awas and no water supply. We do not exist for the present government. We have been approaching them but no one listens."
She said as she tried to take control of her emotions and wiping the tears with the back of her hand.
Her next-door neighbor, Mohammed Muslim, said, "We fled to this place in 1992. It's been over 20 years now but not a single government representative has ever come to take stock of our plight in ward number 1 of Litchi Bagan area. Sometimes back some leaders came but they went away with empty promises."
The people still live with the hope that maybe some day either the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav or Nitish Kumar himself will come to their village and drag them out of their wretched existence.
Most of the scantly clad children spend the day playing in the dust. The women often can be spotted walking several kilometres to fetch water. There are some hand pumps but they are not supposed to fetch water from them as the water pumps have ownership rights.
The 100-odd families have built thatched accommodation in the area and are living as daily wage earners.
Husna Khatun, a riot victim, said, "We have got nothing from the government. Yes, we have been given green cards but we get just two litres of kerosene oil from the local PDS shop. That also depends on the whims and the fancies of the shop owner."
She is handicapped and has approached the mukhiya of the area several times but her wait for the much-awaited government help seems endless.
Nur Alam, a resident of the same area, indicated that over 350 families took shelter in this area after the riots broke. "In the Imli Panchayat, six people were killed in front of our eyes," he recalled with horror.
There are several in the area whose names have not even figured in the voter's list.
The victims this time seem to have now decided to teach the political leaders a lesson. "Every election they want votes from us. We have decided we will not vote. Why should we? We have nothing. Does the government know that we even exist here," said Nur Alam.
When contacted by Zee Purvaiyya, a sister concern of dna, the local sub-divisional officer, Mahendra Kumar, said, "Whereever people have decided to boycott elections, we are collecting details and we will surely try and convince them to vote in this elections."
The people here know that the politics of secularism which is being harped upon by JDU and the RJD does not make any difference to their wretched existence.