Left parties on Friday termed as “unacceptable” the Patna High Court verdict acquitting all 26 accused in the 1997 Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre case and asked the Nitish Kumar government to immediately file an appeal against it.
“The acquittal of all the accused in the Laxmanpur Bathe case by a division bench of the Patna High Court is an unacceptable judgement. The lower court had sentenced 16 of the accused to death and given life sentence to ten others.
“To now give them the ‘benefit of doubt’ when there is no doubt that 58 Dalits were massacred in the village (in Arwal district of Bihar) raises questions about the verdict,” the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement.
“Is it just a coincidence that in other such cases also where Dalits were killed by upper caste private armies, the accused have been acquitted,” the party asked and demanded that the Bihar government should “appeal without delay against this flawed judgement.”
The CPI(M) reiterated its earlier demand to appeal against the Patna High Court judgement acquitting Pappu Yadav in the murder of CPI(M) MLA Ajit Sarkar, “even though he was found guilty by the lower court.”
In a statement, CPI-ML (Liberation) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said the Bathe massacre verdict was “a judicial massacre - coming after similar acquittals in the Bathanitola, Nagri and Miyanpur massacre cases.”
He demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister “after wholesale acquittals by the High Court, which expose the cruel truth behind his claims of ‘justice’ for the victims.”
Mr. Bhattacharya and his party’s senior leader Kunal said the Bathe massacre had been termed by then President K. R. Narayanan as a ‘national shame’.
“The impunity enjoyed by the killers, being acquitted in case after case, shows that judicial bias and justice denied for Dalits is an even worse national shame,” they said.
Maintaining that Dalit students were recently attacked by Ranveer Sena following the death of its chief Brahmeshwar, they claimed “it is well known that leaders of BJP, JD(U) and some from RJD and Congress had close links with the Ranveer Sena.”