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A Bihar court on Tuesday sentenced 10 convicts to death and three to life in prison, days after holding them guilty of massacring 34 people at Jehanabad district’s Senari village in March 1999.
The court of Jehanabad Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ-III) Ranjit Kumar Singh slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on each of the three lifers while reserving verdict in the case of two of the convicts — Vyas Yadav and Ganauri Yadav — as they are absconding.
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Those who were handed capital punishment are Bachesh Singh, Budhan Yadav, Butai Yadav, Satyendra Das, Lalan Pasi, Gopal Sah, Dwarika Paswan, Kariman Paswan, Gorai Paswan and Uma Paswan. The three given life imprisonment are Arvind Yadav, Mungeshwar Yadav and Vinay Paswan.
The court also directed the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia to the kin of each person killed in the massacre and deposit the money with the district legal service authority, which will pay the families after identifying them. It also ordered payment of Rs 1 lakh each to those who were injured in the incident.
The 15 members of Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) — now CPI (Maoist) — were held guilty on October 27, 17 years after they dragged the 34 upper-caste men, women and children out of their houses, lined them up near a temple and slit their throats with blunt objects. Chintamani Devi, whose husband and son were among those massacred, was the complainant in the case.
“We presented a strong case with a lot of corroborative evidence. The police filed a chargesheet against 74 people in 2002 but trial against 56 could take place and 18 remained absconders,’’ said additional public prosecutor Ranjit Kumar Singh. “Charges were framed against 45 people. Two persons died during trial and five persons were missing.’’
As many as 23 accused were acquitted.
The Senari incident was the last big massacre in the three-decade caste war between MCC and upper caste militia, Ranbir Sena. The Senari massacre followed the Lakhshman-Bathe massacre of 57 Dalits in 1997.
With PTI inputs