Mukhiya nursed political ambitions

When Barmeshwar Mukhiya held a press conference in Patna last fortnight taking up farmers’ issues and asking the state government to increase support price of grains

Written by Santosh Singh | Ara | Published: June 2, 2012 3:49 am

When Barmeshwar Mukhiya held a press conference in Patna last fortnight taking up farmers’ issues and asking the state government to increase support price of grains,he made an important statement: “Lalu regime was better than Nitish rule in many ways.” Although he did not explain the context of his remark in great detail,only referring to law and order,it said a lot about his political aspirations — beyond the dreaded Ranbir Sena that he once headed.

Mukhiya contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections,right from jail,and got third position despite being dubbed a “spent force” by his rivals.

“Though Mukhiyaji was privately known to be an RSS supporter,he never exhibited his liking for BJP. But he did not criticise Nitish Kumar government either after coming out on bail last year. He had kept his options open till he seemed to change his stance recently,” said a close relative.

But Mukhiya switching his political allegiance hardly meant anything to Nitish Kumar or Lalu Prasad. It was during the RJD rule in 2002 that Mukhiya was sent to jail. Ever since,it was a downhill journey for him and slide to extinction for Ranbir Sena.

Being the main accused in 22 caste massacres did not deter the man. He was acquitted in 14 cases for “lack of evidence”. The state government did not appeal against the acquittals.

But things changed after the Bathanitola massacre acquittal. Subodh Kumar,Mukhiya’s neighbour here,said,“He was restless after state government decided to challenge the Bathanitola massacre acquittal recently. His anti-Nitish statement might well have to do with this fear.”

In spite of the reputation of being the man who led the group responsible for 50 massacres that left 400 people dead between 1994 and 2001,his supporters back home described Mukhiya as “very simple and affable” man. He was known as the leader of upper castes people of Ara,Buxar,Arwal and Jehanabad. His grandson Kundan said,“My grandfather would not sit idle. He always had some ideas to work on.”

His youngest son Indubhushan was elected mukhiya of Ara’s Katira panchayat in last election. The family has agricultural land at paternal Khopira village under Agiaon block.

RISE & FALL

MUKHIYA came to limelight by founding Ranbir Sena,an upper caste militia mainly of Bhumihar youths,in 1994 in the middle of caste massacres to offer resistance to Naxals,who were out to usurp land.

WITH upper caste landlords at the receiving end,Ranbir Sena received wide support. Then in his late 40s,Mukhiya’s group engaged in intense caste battle for supremacy.

AFTER years in hiding,Mukhiya was finally arrested in August 2002. He remained in jail for nine years before getting out on bail.

LAKSHMANPUR Bathe (Jehanabad) massacre of 1997 was the group’s biggest attack. Sixty-one Dalits,more than half of them women and children,were butchered. Ranbir Sena’s last big strike was in Mianpur (Aurangabad).

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