On 12 July, The Supreme Court of India agreed to hear appeal by Bihar government against the acquittal by Patna High Court of 14 accused in Senari massacre of 1999.
In the Senari Village of Jehanabad district, 34 upper caste men were forced out of their homes by cadres of defunct Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and they were slaughtered near village temple on 18th March 1999. This event is called as Senari Massacre. This massacre was a sequel in prolonged caste war between MCC and private armies of upper caste villagers especially the Ranbir Sena which was led by Barmeshwar Mukhiya. He was jailed in the year 2012.
Award by Jehanabad court
Jehanabad court sentenced 11 accused to death while 3 others were awarded the life sentence on November 15, 2016. Three of those convicted then challenged the verdict in High Court.
High Court order
Patna High Court has acquitted all 14 accused on 21st May 2021. Division Bench comprising of Justices Ashwini Kumar Singh and Arvind Srivastava has reversed the verdict of Jehanabad court citing lack of sufficient evidence.
Bihar government’s appeal to SC
The state government is now going to present a strong case before the supreme court. Prosecution has told Supreme Court of having 23 witnesses, including 13 eyewitnesses who lost members of their families in massacre.
Case study on Killings in Bihar
Bihar observed killings of over 400 people including several policemen in two dozen caste massacres between 1990 and 200. These killings were the result of bloody war of attrition between MCC and upper caste private armies. One such massacre is “Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre” in Jehanabad in 1997 that resulted into killing of 58 Dalits and OBCs by Ranbir Sena. Last major caste massacre took place in October 2009, when 16 OBC people were killed in Alauli, Khagaria district of Bihar. This caste massacres subsequently opened ways for Left Wing Extremism in the state.
Senari massacre of 1999