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Thursday 19 April 2012

Bathani Tola Case: Bihar to Move SC Against HC Verdict

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 19.04.12
Bathani Tola Case: Bihar to Move SC Against HC Verdict - Out Look
For residents of Bathani, it is a horror they cannot forget - The Hindu
Low conviction rate in SC/ST atrocities cases in Uttarakhand irks BSP - The Hindustan Times
The Pioneer
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 23:10
The Odisha State SC/ST Youth and Students' Council on Tuesday urged the State Government to implement recommendations of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman PL Punia on the alleged Pipili gang-rape issue and arrest Pradeep Maharathy.
Thee Council also urged the Chief Minister to take strong action against the administrative officers who neglected in discharging their duties according to law and also cancel licenses of the doctors who neglected in treating the dalit girl. The council said exploitation and attack on dalit people in the State being on the rise, Punia expressed grave concern over the attack on the dalits and recommended to the Centre and the State Governments to take proper action against defaulters of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.  Punia during his earlier visit to the State had rued doctors' recklessness in the case of the victimised dalit girl, Babina Behera, the politician's role behind suppression of the case and police inaction in the matter. 
Out Look
Bathani Tola Case: Bihar to Move SC Against HC Verdict
Bihar government will move Supreme Court against Patna High Court order setting aside the death sentence to three and life imprisonment to 20 others in the 1996 Bathani Tola carnage case.

"We have decided to move Supreme Court soon challenging the Patna HC order," State SC/ST Welfare Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi told PTI here today.
Manjhi said he had already apprised Union Social Welfare Minister Mukul Wasnik of the state government's stand to challenge the Patna High Court order.
The HC had on Monday set aside the death sentence and life imprisonment. The Bhojpur court had on May 3 last year convicted and sentenced three persons to death and 20 others to life imprisonment for the carnage in which 21 dalits were killed allegedly by Ranvir Sena on July 11, 1996 at Bathani Tola in Bhojpur district.
CPI-ML(Liberation) politburo member Ramji Rai had yesterday said Supreme Court should take cognisance of 1996 Bathani Tola carnage case.
"Nitish Kumar government is involved in the larger conspiracy to facilitate the acquittal of those convicted in the case ...It is a political conspiracy against the poor," Rai had alleged.
The Hindu
For residents of Bathani, it is a horror they cannot forget
Shoumojit Banerjee
Shoumojit Banerjee Kishun Chaudhary and Marwari Chaudhary who survived the horrific Bathani Tola carnage. Court verdict rekindles memories of a dark day in 1996.
It was a July afternoon in 1996, and it took the marauding mobs less than a couple of hours to execute the massacre that took 21 lives. Among the dead were 11 women, six children and three infants.
With that, Bathani Tola, an unsung hamlet in central Bihar, shot to fame as one of the many sites where the fearsome Ranbir Sena had left its bloody mark. Last week, the village was once more in the news, with the Patna High Court acquitting 23 men convicted of the gruesome murders.
Bathani Tola was not the first, and would not be the last, in a series of atrocities committed through the 1980s and 1990s by the Sena, a powerful caste army of Bhumihars and Rajputs. Its victims were always landless labourers (Dalits in most cases), who, though poor and impoverished, had begun to get radicalised in the backdrop of the Naxal movement taking root in the State.
"We heard their howls of agony, but simply could not find the courage to come out," recounts Naimuddin Ansari, one of the prime witnesses who lost six family members in the carnage. "The Sena men encircled our hovels, drew out the victims and slaughtered them," recounts Sri Kishun Chaudhary, who lodged an FIR against 33 persons the day after the massacre.
Among those named was Brahmeshwar Singh — the infamous Mukhiya and founder of the Ranbir Sena — who is said to have overseen the Bathani killings as well as the caste massacres that followed in Laxmanpur Bathe and Shankarbigha (81 Dalits were killed in the two villages). Fourteen years after the bloodbath in Bathani, the Ara sessions court sentenced three persons to death and awarded life sentence to another 20.
The acquittal of the same men by the High Court has come as a shock to Bathani's residents. The court might have had its reasons — it cited "defective evidence" — for overturning the convictions, but the villagers are inconsolable and recollect every detail of the horror that visited them, including the fact that the Sena men killed women and children by design, not because they came in their way.
"This government [the Nitish Kumar-led NDA] has sold out to the rich and influential. It is now up to the Party [the Communist Party of India (Marxist -Leninist)] to decide the next course of action," says Mr. Chaudhary, fatigued and bitter from years of fighting the case.
Naimuddin too looks dejected and defeated. A bangle-seller at the time of the carnage, he lost his three-month-old daughter to the aggressors. She had not even been named, when she was killed, he reminisces, adding, "Baby," as she was called, "was tossed in the air and thrust down the blade of a sword."
"My seven-year-old son Saddam saw it. They all saw it," cries Naimuddin. One half of Saddam's face had been mutilated by sword lacerations when Naimuddin finally reached the spot after the Sena men had dispersed.
"As I picked him up, he [Saddam] said, 'Abba save my life!' It was then that I realised they had cut his spinal cord." The child died within a week at the Patna Medical College and Hospital.
A Sena sympathiser, who spoke to this correspondent, justified the "reactionary mobilisation" of the upper castes against "those Naxals." "The land is ours. The crops belong to us. They [the labourers] did not want to work, and moreover, hampered our efforts by burning our machines and imposing economic blockades. So, they had it coming."
Not surprisingly, there is panic in Bathani over the release of the Sena men. Their fear is compounded by the fact that their source of security, the CPI(ML), today lacks the necessary leadership at the ground level. In the 2010 Assembly elections, the CPI(ML) failed to bag even one of seven seats in Bhojpur district, which were split between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United).
Naimuddin and others have one question for visitors: if those named in the FIR are not the killers, who killed the 21 residents of Bathani Tola?
The Hindustan Times
Low conviction rate in SC/ST atrocities cases in Uttarakhand irks BSP
Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times
Dehradun, April 19, 2012
Last Updated: 10:45 IST(19/4/2012)
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which is for the first time sharing power in Uttarakhand has expressed resentment over the low conviction rate for cases of atrocities against Schedule Cast and Tribe in the hill state. BSP legislator and social welfare minister Surender Rakesh blamed revenue police system prevalent in the hills for the low conviction rate.

"I am writing to the chief minister and will request him to transfer officials of the revenue cadre who are posted in the same location for years," told minister to Hindustan Times.
Social welfare minister has in fact taken the issue of low conviction in front of Union home minister. Figures show that only 3 accused could get sentence out of total 15 cases that had been closed by the various courts. Going by the figures the conviction rate for cases of atrocities against SC/ST is 22% in state, less than the national average of 30%.
Total 130 complaints were made under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in 2011 in Uttarakhand and out of these 58 were registered.
"It is not that few acts of atrocities are being committed against SC/ST. The fact is that revenue police deals in 70% area in state and they have no rights to examine cases. Moreover officials become party and discourage complainant" minister added. 
Uttarakhand is the only state where revenue police system is prevailing in the hills since 1861. The system empowers Patwari (revenue officer) to collect revenue and keep vigil on law and order.
Whereas as per SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, an official less than deputy SP rank cannot examine a case. Minister adds this is the major concern for his ministry and BSP. 
BSP that has been consistently focusing on 17% odd SC and 3% ST population in state feels SC/ST are crucial for the party's growth. The party in past had conducted several meetings in the SC pockets.
With the 3 BSP legislators including one minister supporting Congress government in Uttarakhand, BSP wants to leave an impression among its cadre voters.
.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC. 

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