ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Other Caste Senas

The recent Cobrapost sting, which resulted in a documentary film titled Operation Black Rain, has started a new debate about the bitter realities of the Indian judicial system. The sting also reignited the discussion in the media about mass killings by the upper-caste militia—Ranvir Sena—in Bihar. But a couple of things that all media has always deliberately ignored was the fact that the Ranvir Sena is neither the only caste militia, nor is Brahmeshwar Singh “Mukhiya” the only individual who founded caste militias to terrorise the Dalits of Bihar during the 1980s and 1990s. There were upper-caste private militias other than the Ranvir Sena—Sunlight Sena, Brahmarshi Sena, Savarna Liberation Front, etc, of Bhumihars, while Kuer Sena, Ganga Sena, etc, were of Rajput caste.

Yadavs and Kurmis constitute around 20% of the total population of Bihar. The landlords of the Kurmi caste in the Magadh division of Bihar founded the Kisan Suraksha Samiti and Bhumi Sena in 1979 and 1983 respectively, while the landlords of Yadav caste founded Lorik Sena in 1984. They were usually operating in Patna, Jehanabad and Nalanda Districts of South Bihar. According to an estimate by the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), during 1976–89, 102 common people were killed in Bihar by the private armies of upper castes. During the same period, 179 people, including 75 Dalits, were killed by the Lorik Sena and Bhumi Sena. The total number of Dalits killed during the period was 166, which means that private armies of upper castes killed 91 Dalits compared to 75 Dalits killed by Lorik Sena and Bhumi Sena. The killings done by the Lorik Sena or Bhumi Sena never get the attention of the media or civil society, only because those private armies were formed by castes which come under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

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