No one killed 58 Bihar Dalits: HC acquits all accused in Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre case

NB - This is yet another example of how India's criminal justice system has become a manufactory for Maoism. The chief reason for insurgency is rampaging injustice, the perception amongst India's poorest and underprivileged citizens that the promise of the Indian Constitution - of equality before law, is a fraudulent claim, that the police and judicial institutions function to enforce class and caste privilege. The honorable judges and policemen involved in this case (whatever the merits of the claim that there was insufficient evidence); as well as in the Bathani Tola acquittal of April 2012, should know that they have gifted a powerful argument to those whom the Prime Minister names India's biggest security threat. The acquittals(1998)  in the Shankar Guha Niyogi murder (1991) case also did immense harm.. Dilip
Citing lack of evidence, the Patna high court has set aside the conviction of all 26 accused, 16 of whom were awarded death sentence by a lower court, for the massacre of 58 dalits in Laxmanpur Bathe village in Bihar's Jehanabad district 16 years ago.
A division Bench comprising Justices VN Sinha and AK Lal absolved all 26 persons of all the charges for lack of evidence against them. The order was passed on appeals filed by the 26 persons after they were convicted by the lower court. "We are of the view that the prosecution witnesses are not reliable and so all the convicted persons are entitled for benefit of doubt," the Bench said and directed the release of all convicted persons forthwith.
Terming the court acquittal as "massacre of justice to poorest of the poor", Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said the party would move the Supreme Court against the Patna high court verdict. He said the CPI-ML would also appeal to the apex court to appoint a special investigation team (SIT) on the lines of the one that probed the 2002 Gujarat riots for giving justice to victims of massacre cases in Bihar. "The Supreme Court should take cognisance of the acquittal of the massacre convicts and order an impartial probe under its direct supervision," he said.
Of those acquitted, 16 were sentenced to death and 10 were awarded life imprisonment in 2010 by the Additional District and Sessions Judge of Patna. Ranvir Sena men had allegedly carried out the massacre December 1, 1997. According to police, charges were framed Dec 23, 2008, against 44 men of the Ranvir Sena for killing Dalits, including 27 women and 10 children. Police records showed four Dalit families were completely wiped out in the bloodbath. Laxmanpur-Bathe is situated on the banks of the Sone river in Jehanabad district. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government then, led by Rabri Devi, set up the Amir Das Commission to probe the political connections of the Ranvir Sena. But Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wrapped up the commission after coming to power in 2006.
Opposition parties, including the RJD and the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML), alleged that the Nitish Kumar government was protecting the interests of the Ranvir Sena and suppressing the voice of the poorest of the poor. Last year, Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh was killed at Ara, district headquarters of Bhojpur.
In 2010, Additional District Judge Vijay Prakash Mishra had convicted 26 persons and awarded death sentence to 16 of them and life term to the remaining 10 after finding them guilty in the mass massacre. The convicts had subsequently filed appeals in the Patna High Court challenging the order.
Bathani Tola Massacred by Ranveer Sena in Laloo’s Bihar –
Bathani Tola Massacred Judicially in Nitish Regime!
We Want Justice for Bathani Tola Victims!
On 11 July 1996, a private army of upper caste landlords (Ranveer Sena) brutally massacred 8 children, 12 women, and 1 man in the hamlet of Bathani Tola of Bhojpur (Bihar), most of whom were dalit and Muslim landless poor. The massacre – by men armed with swords and guns – began at 2 in the afternoon. There was a police thana a mere 100 metres away, and 3 other thanas about 1-2 kms away in different directions. But no police interrupted the dance of death which continued for three hours.

Though massacres by feudal armies was nothing new in Bihar, the sheer scale and ferocity of the Bathani Tola massacre marked a new phase and signified a new reactionary political mobilisation. 18-year old Shayra Khatun, was gang-raped before being killed. 25-year old Lakhiya Devi’s breasts were chopped off. A baby daughter of Nayeemuddin, yet to be named, was tossed in the air and chopped in two as she fell. A pregnant woman’s womb was slashed open and the foetus impaled on a sword. Such acts by the Ranveer Sena appear to have provided a sort of template for some of the horrors of the Gujarat massacre by the Sangh Parivar.

An Ara sessions court in 2010 convicted 23 for the massacre, sentencing 3 to death and 20 to life. And this month, the Bihar High Court acquitted all 23, observing that “The investigation was not fair in respect of the persons who perpetrated the ghastly crime ... Apparently investigation has (sic) directed in a particular direction far from the truth and not above suspicion.” Nayeemuddin, one of the survivors who lost several family members, asks, “Who killed 21 people that afternoon, if it wasn’t those we named in the FIR?” He also asks, “Who will take responsibility for my life, now that all those I gave evidence against are free?” Someone owes him and the other survivors an answer. So, who killed 21 at Bathani Tola and why? read more:
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