The Patna High Court on May 22 acquitted 13 people who were accused in the Senari Massacre case. On 18 March 1999, 34 men from the oppressive Bhumihar caste were allegedly killed by members of the Maoist Communist Center (MCC).
The FIR in the case was filed by the police on the basis of Chintamani Devi’s testimony, wife of one of the people killed in the massacre, the Hindu reported.
Previously in November 2016, the Jehanabad District Court had convicted and awarded life imprisonment to 3 men and 10 of them were given death sentences. All of them came from marginalized caste communities. A Division Bench of the Patna High Court including Justices Ashwani Kumar Singh and Arvind Srivastava, on Friday, acquitted all 13 of them citing lack of evidence in the Senari massacre case.
During the 1990s. villages in Bihar were blazing with caste wars between the armies of oppressed caste families primarily Bhumihars and Rajputs with huge landholdings and landless groups of Dalits and middle castes’ peasantry. The massacre in Senari, a village in the Arwal district of Bihar was a result of the ongoing caste war and violent conflicts between the banned MCC and oppressive castes’ armies.
The Senari massacre is in general understood as a retaliatory event following the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre in which members of Ranvir Sena, a right-wing militia of oppressive castes’ landlords murdered 58 Dalits including children on a winter night in December 1997. The heinous massacre pushed the then Indian President KR Narayanan to call it a matter of ‘national shame’. It took more than 11 years for the Ranvir Sena men to be even charged with these murders in 2008 but all of the accused were let go by the Patna High Court in October 2013.