23 persons accused of Dalit carnage in Bihar acquitted

The Patna High Court on 16 April acquitted 23 persons accused of the massacre of 21 Dalits at Bathani Tola in Bhojpur in 1996 while the sessions court had sentenced them in May 2010. The massacre took place in July 1996 when upper caste landowners of the Ranvir Sena stormed Bathani Tola in Bhojpur and mercilessly hacked Dalits including women and children. FIR was lodged against 33 persons and thereafter the Bhojpur police framed charge against 23 persons. In May 2010, the session’s court in Ara district had convicted all the accused and sentenced them. Of the accused three were given capital punishment while the rest were pronounced life imprisonment. But, on 16 April this year, a Division Bench of Judges Navneeti Prasad Singh and Ashwani Kumar Singh acquitted all the accused while citing imperfect evidence. Anand Vatsyayan, counsel for the witnesses in the Bathani Tola case has said that he is surprised by the High Court verdict because the evidence provided was more than enough to uphold the judgement passed by the Ara session’s court. 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2012 on page no. 3

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