23 upper castemen convicted in Bihar massacre case
of Ara in Bihar, Ajay Kumar Srivastava, convicted 23 persons and
acquitted 30 other accused in the infamous Bathani Tola massacre case
of 1996. The quantum of sentence is to be pronounced on May 12.
The case is related to the massacre of 21 Dalits and poor Muslims at
Bathani Tola village in Sahar block of Bhojpur district on July 11,
1996 by the activists of Ranvir Sena, a private army of the landed
upper caste Bhumihar farmers. These have-nots were killed by the
landed Bhumihars on the charge that they were supporters of the Naxal
As per charge-sheet 60-70 supporters of Ranvir Sena had attacked
Bathani Tola at about 2:00 PM and killed 21 persons, mainly women and
children in the age group of three months to 80 years using fire arms,
swords and other weapons.
Later Kishun Chaudhary, a Dalit survivor of Bathani Tola had lodged a
case against 33 persons following which the police filed charge-sheet
against 63 accused. They included the Ranvir Sena chief, Barmeshwar
Singh, generally known as Mukhiyaji. However, the Mukhiya was declared
as absconder. He was later arrested.
Though a non-FIR accused the case against Mukhiyaji has still not been
committed. He is now in jail.
It needs to be recalled that only last month another court in Bihar
convicted Ranvir Sena supporters for killing 58 Dalit men, women and
children in Lakshmipur-Bathe village in Jehanabad district.
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