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How the Ranvir Sena caste militia remains protected ?

India: Interview with Justice Amir Das on the Lakshmanpur Bathe massacre - ‘Some From The Nitish Kumar Government Were Also Involved’

by Dilip, 18 October 2013

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..one of the first decisions of  as chief minister in 2005 was to dismantle the Amir Das Commission, which had been set up by the Rabri Devi government to investigate the role of the Ranvir Sena in these massacres.

On 9 October, the Patna High Court acquitted all 26 accused in the Lakshmanpur Bathe massacre, in which 58  villagers were killed on 1 December 1997 in Jehanabad district. Among those butchered were 27 women and 16 children. In 2010, a lower court had awarded death penalty to 16 of the accused. The rest were sentenced to life imprisonment. But the joint HC Bench said that the evidence and witnesses of the prosecution were not reliable and gave the accused the “benefit of doubt”.


This is not the first instance when accused belonging to upper castes have walked free after being charged with mass murder in . Only last year, all accused in Bhojpur’s Bathani Tola massacre case, which claimed 22 lives in 1996, went scot-free. In fact, one of the first decisions of  as chief minister in 2005 was to dismantle the Amir Das Commission, which had been set up by the Rabri Devi government to investigate the role of the Ranvir Sena, ’s notorious upper-caste militia, in these massacres.
In an interview with Justice Amir Das confirms that the commission, if not dissolved so hastily, would have exposed the political connections of the Ranvir Sena. Some of the men named in his report, Das points out, are part of the  government.
Edited excerpts from an interview:
After Bathani Tola and Nagri, all accused in the Lakshmanpur Bathe massacre have also been acquitted. Why are decisions of the lower courts being overruled by the high court?
What can I say? There are certain circumstances in every decision that need to be ignored for the sake of justice. It’s different if an incident takes place in broad daylight. A crime committed in the dark gets the benefit of doubt. I have been to villages like Lakshmanpur Bathe. These are areas engulfed in darkness. Yes, it’s true what happened in Lakshmanpur Bathe was not an accident. But, in certain situations, one has to ignore some things.
There is a difference between lower court, high court and the Supreme Court. I have worked in the lower court too. The IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act are very strong laws. Being well versed with them can help influence the decisions. If there is a man behind the bushes and someone takes him for a bird and shoots him, it will be murder by accident. Similarly, when a massacre takes place in the dark, it is difficult to identify the culprits. But it doesn’t answer all the questions. How were the 58 people killed? Who killed them and why?
But these are the very questions that the lower court’s verdict raised.
That’s why I have been repeating all along that decisions depend on circumstances… Obviously, it is difficult to give clear proof of a murder that took place in the dark. Besides, one has to make sure that no innocent gets wrongly punished. There are a lot of things to take care of.
People believe that the government scrapped the commission headed by you because it was going to make some revelations…
The government did not even seek to know how the commission worked, how the facts were collected, how much hard work was put in to reach the bottom of the story. Within 15-20 days after the () government was formed, I was pressured to submit the report. I requested for a little more time, but I was told it was already late. Then suddenly, they dissolved it. It had been 7-8 years. All our efforts went to waste. The government blamed the commission for delay in the report but such delays are usual.
Take, for instance, the probe committee for Bhagalpur riots, which was again sent to Bhagalpur after so many years. We were not handling any ordinary case. Fifty-eight people were killed in Lakshmanpur alone, including children and pregnant women. It was a thorough probe which revealed that the killers belonging to the Ranvir Sena did not come from outside. They were all from Lakshmanpur, known to the victims who didn’t need much light to recognise the faces of their attackers. They were their landlords; now they are MLAs... read more:

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