MCC threatens action against court verdict
The Times of India News Service
PATNA: The death sentence given to four hardcore Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) members by court in connection with the Bara massacre has once again opened up the possibility of extremist violence.
The banned Naxalite outfit has already issued a warning that blood will flow on the roads of Bihar and the "people will enforce their own law" if the hanging of its four members is not stopped. A press note issued by one Badal, secretary of its "central Bihar zonal committee", stated that the MCC will organise "a mass protest" against the court verdict.
So far 12 MCC activists have been given death sentence by court. Earlier, eight MCC activists were sentenced to death for their involvement in the Dalelchak Bhaghora massacre in Aurangabad district in 1987 in which 52 people belonging to an upper caste had been butchered. The MCC has refused to acknowledge these massacres as criminal acts. "Bara was an armed response of the masses to the killings at Sawanbigha," the MCC press note stressed, alleging that the state machinery, including the judiciary, is "biased against the downtrodden sections of society".
The chief of the outlawed Ranvir Sena, Barmeshwar Singh, who created a stir by holding a press conference here under the nose of the police headquarters, had stated that the lull in extremist violence witnessed by Bihar was an uneasy one. "We remain silent for now. But if the Naxalites strike, we will retaliate with four times more force," he had warned.
Unmindful of the impending dangers of renewed extremist violence, the state police have continued to make tall claims about their success in controlling such violence. The report containing comparative statistics given to the members of the joint co-ordination committee of the ruling alliance at its recent meeting claimed significant improvement in extremist violence. The killings in extremist violence dropped from 205 in 1999 to 177 in 2000. The state police stressed that the cases of landmining and resultant killings also declined.
In 1999, there were five carnages in which 86 people lost their lives. In 2000, carnages remained confined to Miapur in Aurangabad and Tarari in Bhojpur claiming 33 and six lives respectively. "It was due to the pressure of the police that the Ranvir Sena could not commit any massacre," the report claimed. The Ranvir Sena, incidentally, is witnessing an intense infighting forcing the banned private army to change its letterhead on the plea that it was being misused.
Last year when the state was in the process of being divided, the then DGP, K A Jacob, had expressed relief stressing that the worst extremist-affected areas were going to Jharkhand. But within months extremist activities were reported from several old north Bihar districts like Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Begusarai. Now if the MCC carries out its threat, Bihar will be caught in another cycle of extremist violence - carnages and counter-carnages, the police statistics notwithstanding.
Bara judgment: Prosecution, defence to appeal
The Times of India News Service
GAYA: Neither the prosecution nor the defence is fully satisfied with the judgment delivered by the district and sessions judge-cum-special TADA judge Jawahar Lal Chaudhary in the Bara massacre case and, as such, both the parties would exercise the right to appeal against the judgment.
As the trials took place under the provisions of TADA, the appeal has to be made directly in the Supreme Court as the high court jurisdiction stands barred. Whereas the prosecution would appeal against the acquittal of four of the 13 accused who faced trial in the massacre case, the defence would prefer appeal against the convictions, particularly the death penalty awarded to four of the accused.
In his June 8 order, the special TADA judge awarded death sentence to four of the accused while four others were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence. Of the remaining five accused, four were given life imprisonment while one person is to serve a 10 years' rigorous imprisonment term.
Special public prosecutors Chittaranjan Sinha and Shyam Kishore Sharma told TOINS that the state would file appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Nanhe Yadav, Naresh Chamar, Ramashis Mahato and Nanhak Teli alias Murikatwa. Sinha also said that he would submit his report to the law department of the state government. The special PP maintained that enough evidence existed against the four accused who have been acquitted in the case.
Like his prosecution counterpart, defence lawyer Sartaj Ali Khan is also not satisfied with the judgment. Khan said that an appeal would be filed in the Supreme Court against the verdict.
With both the parties gearing up to challenge the judgment in the apex court, the Bara battle is likely to witness more interesting turns. In September 1992, the Aurangabad additional district and sessions judge Hari Shankar Prasad awarded capital punishment to eight of the accused of the Dalelchak Baghora massacre in which the MCC had killed 55 Rajputs of the village, including women and children. The convicts were granted partial relief by the Supreme Court as the death penalty was changed to life imprisonment. The prolonged legal battle has kept the Bara ghost alive and as such tension continues in the region.
Verdict on Bara killings: MCC vows retaliation
FEAR GRIPPED Bara village as the Struggling Forum for People's Resistance (SFPR), a front organisation of the outlawed Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), vowed to retaliate and launch a campaign against a special Tada court verdict.
The special court convicted nine accused, out of the 13, in the Bara massacre case here on Friday.
The special Tada judge has sentenced four of the accused to death and awarded life term to four others. He also announced a 10-year rigorous imprisonment to one.
As news of the conviction spread, fear descended on the hamlets of Bara, where the Maoists slaughtered 35 men on the fateful night of February 12, 1992.
Despite apprehensions of retaliatory action by the MCC, the villagers appeared relieved after the court verdict.
They, however, felt somewhat disappointed over the acquittal of four persons in the case.
It is to be noted that the MCC had been continuously threatening the villagers with dire consequences if the eye witnesses in the case dared to depose before the TADA court.
The Gaya police had earlier set up a police picket in view of the threat held out to the Bara villagers. But the police picket was withdrawn during the panchayat elections and has not since been restored.
The police have, however, intensified patrolling around the areas to avert any untoward incident.
The SFPR has condemned the TADA court verdict describing it as a miscarriage of justice.
Convenor of the SFPR Upendra Kumar in his statement has said that a plot has been hatched by the government to wipe out Dalits for perpetuating the feudal rule across the country.
The MCC outfit has called upon the youth and intellectuals to come out on the streets to save the lives of the four "innocent" Dalits, who have been awarded death sentence.