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

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Prosecution as Defence

The Cobrapost expose of the Ranveer Sena calls for an overhaul of how such crimes are prosecuted in court.

The revelations by Cobrapost on the many massacres by the upper-caste private army Ranveer Sena in central Bihar in the 1990s and more significantly the reported nexus between the private militia and prominent members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are shocking. The revelations—caught on camera in interviews with senior members of the Ranveer Sena—also report the involvement of senior politicians from other parties in arranging a supply of arms to the Ranveer Sena.

Fifty-eight people, all of them Dalits, had been killed on the night of 1 December 1997 in the Laxmanpur Bathe massacre and many members of the Ranveer Sena had been convicted of the crime. On 9 October 2013, the Patna High Court set aside the sessions court order of April 2010 sentencing 16 of the 26 accused to death and the 10 others to life imprisonment; the only ground on which those convicted of the massacre in Laxmanpur Bathe were acquitted was that the prosecution erred while arraigning witnesses. Things were not very different with those accused of other such massacres in Bathani Tola and Miyapur (the convicted acquitted by the high court) and Shankar Bigha (the accused acquitted by the sessions court) between 1995 and 1997.

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