A Jehanabad court on Thursday convicted 15 people and acquitted 23 others in connection with the Senari massacre, in which 34 people were killed by Maoists in 1999. The court will decide the quantum of punishment on November 15. The court of Additional District Judge-III Ranjit Kumar Singh convicted 15 accused and acquitted 23 for lack of evidence.
According to the prosecution, the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) killed 34 upper-caste people with blunt objects at Senari village under Karpi police station of Arwal, then Jehanabad, on March 18, 1999. The victims were forced out of their houses and lined up near a village temple, where their throats were slit.
Additional public prosecutor Ranjit Kumar Singh said: “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 took place while 18 remained absconders. Charges were framed against 45 people. Two persons died during trial.”
The police filed the case on information provided by one Chintamani Devi, whose husband was among the 34 victims. The Senari incident was the last of a series of case-related massacres, in which MCC and upper caste organisations such as the Ranbir Sena are suspected to have been involved. The Senari incident took place after the Lakshman-Bathe massacre, in which 57 Dalits were killed in 1997.
Of the 91 massacres between 1977 and 2000, 76 took place between 1990 and 2000, in which over 350 people were killed. Districts of central Bihar such as Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad and Shahabad region of Bhojpur were the worst affected.