Four get death sentence in Bara trial
The Times of India News Service
GAYA: In a landmark judgement on Friday, Gaya district and sessions cum special TADA judge, Jawahar Lal Chowdhury, awarded death penalty to four accused of the Bara massacre. On February 12, 1992, 35 men of the Bhumihar caste were slaughtered by MCC marauders.
Justice Chaudhary held Veer Kunwar Dusadh, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Krishna Mochi and Dharu Singh guilty - under Section 3(IA) of TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act) and Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code - of mass murder.
Of the 13 accused, four others were awarded life imprisonment. They are Bihari Manjhi, Vakil Yadav, Rajendra Paswan and Ram Awatar Dusadh alias Lakhan Dusadh. Ravindra Singh, accused of harbouring the Naxalites and from whose house Bihari Manjhi was arrested, was given 10 years' rigorous imprisonment. Four others were acquitted due to lack of sufficient evidence. The defence lawyer, Sartaj Ali Khan had pleaded for lenient punishment as the convicts belonged to the oppressed section and were not guilty of committing any other crime in the past. The court was also requested to take a lenient view as the Bara killings were retaliatory is nature.
The chargesheet in the case was filed on February 12, 1993, an year after the massacre. Thirty six persons figured in the final chargesheet of whom 19 were declared absconders. Charges were framed against 13 who were subsequently put on trial. During the trial, the prosecution presented 31 witnesses, six of whom survived the massacre.
With the verdict, the Gaya chapter of the trial has come to an end. The scene would now shifted to the Supreme Court as in TADA cases, death penalty to be effective has to be confirmed by the apex court. Also, as the high courts do not exercise appellate powers in TADA cases, appeal against the verdict can only be made directly in the Supreme Court.
Special public prosecutor Chitranjan Sinha told TOINS after the verdict that the state would prefer an appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of four of the accused as evidence against them did exist.