PAST EVENTS

Jan Sunwai for Justice with the survivors of Bathani Tola and Laxmanpur Bathe Massacres

In 1996 the Ranveer Sena had brutally massacred 21 people from dalit-minority communities. The following year, December 1, 1997 turned out to be another a long night of terror. 58 people of the ‘dalit tola’ of the twin villages of Laxmanpur-Bathe on the banks of the Sone river were massacred by a contingent of the Ranveer Sena, an organised landlord army with powerful political links.

After long 14 years, an Ara sessions court in 2010 convicted 23 for the Bathani Tola massacre, sentencing 3 to death and 20 to life. In the same year, on 7 April 2010, the Patna Additional District and Sessions Court passed its verdict sentencing 16 ofthe 45 accused to death and 10 to life imprisonment. However, in April 2012, the Bihar High Court acquitted all 23 convicts of the Bathani Tola Masscare, setting the template for future ‘acquittal’ verdicts! Soon after, in October 2013, the Patna High Court overturned the Sessions Court verdict, acquitting all the accused in the Laxmanpur-Bathe case. This acquittal, while outrageous, was anticipated. As mentioned earlier, the trend had already been set by the Patna High Court in April 2012 when it overturned a trial court conviction and acquitted all the accused in the Bathani Tola massacre case and thereafter also went to do the same in the Mianpur, Nagari Bazaar and Laxmanpur Bathe cases.

A Jan Sunwai (Public Hearing) was organized by CPI (ML) in Delhi on 18th December, 2013 with the survivors of these massacres. The jury comprising of academicians, activists, lawyers & journalist included- Prof. Nandini Sundar of Delhi University, Chittaranjan Singh of PUCL, Prof. Sona Jharia Minz and Dr. YS Alone of JNU, Prof. Nawal Kishore Choudhary of Patna University, and JNUSU Vice President Anubhuti Agnes Bara. Several survivors who lost their family members addressed the Jan Sunwai.

After the Public Hearing, 5 million signatures (collected between 30 October and 10 December in an intense campaign all over Bihar) were submitted to the President of India. Signatories included the general public, well-known intellectuals, litterateurs, cultural activists, journalists, and human rights activists. The petition appealed to the President to raise his voice in support of the struggle for justice, and to intervene to reopen the Justice Amir Das Commission that had identified the political figures behind the Ranveer Sena, but that had been disbanded by the Nitish Government before it could submit its findings.

 

India: towards a third alternative

In 1996 the Ranveer Sena had brutally massacred 21 people from dalit-minority communities. The following year, December 1, 1997 turned out to be another a long night of terror. 58 people of the ‘dalit tola’ of the twin villages of Laxmanpur-Bathe on the bank

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