Court acquits 28 accused in killing of 10 Dalits due to lack of evidence

Patna: A local court in Bihar has acquitted all 28 people accused of shooting dead 10 Dalits for lack of evidence. The acquittal came 21 years after they were charged with committing the crime.

Judge Manoj Kumar Singh gave all the accused persons the benefit of doubts citing lack of credible evidence on Tuesday. The accused were making rounds of the court for the past over two decades since the case was registered against them.

The massacre of dalits which took place at Haibaspur village in Patna district in March 1997 had been carried out by the Ranvir Sena, a private militia of upper caste landlords, apparently in retaliation to the killing of six upper caste villagers at another village in the same district.

According to an eyewitness account, all the victims were called in to harvest standing crops in the field. However, as they reached there, they were taken outside the village, lined up in a row and shot dead in cold blood one after another. After committing the crime, the perpetrators had scribbled the name of the group involved with the blood of the victims on the plastered ground of a well.

This is the seventh time in quick succession that the accused involved in the killing of Dalits have been acquitted by the court for “lack of evidence”. Earlier in January 2015, the local court had acquitted all the 24 accused in the 1999 massacre of 23 Dalits at Shankar Bigha village in Jehanabad district for lack of evidence.

Similar judgement came in the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre in which all the 26 accused charged with the massacre of 58 Dalit villagers were acquitted by the Patna High Court in October 2013 for lack of evidence. Again, the Patna High Court acquitted nine out of total 10 accused in the killing of 32 Dalit villagers at Miyanpur village in Aurangabad district in 2000. The acquittal came in July 2013 and the reason for it was the same — lack of evidence.

Same happened with all the 11 accused in Nagri massacre, who all were acquitted by the Patna High Court in March 2013 for lack of evidence. In this case too, all the 10 victims were Dalits who were killed in cold blood in Bhojpur district in 1998.

Again in April 2012, the Patna High Court acquitted all the 23 persons accused of shooting dead 21 Dalits at Bathani Tola for lack of evidence. Earlier in 2009, a trial court again acquitted all the 10 accused persons for “lack of evidence” in Narayanpur massacre in which 11 Dalits were gunned down by the banned Ranvir Sena.


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