‘Unfortunate' is a mild adjective to describe what happened at Bathani Tola in 1996. And the Patna High Court's judgment, acquitting all the 23 accused of killing 21 Dalits, has further exacerbated the situation. The acquittal of those sentenced by the Ara sessions court on the basis of substantial evidence has sent the message that justice for the weaker sections is an illusion. Such instances will create an environment in which people will be driven to fight for their lives, giving rise to internal security concerns.
The High Court's judgment has reinforced the saying that justice delayed is justice denied. The powerless and resource-less Dalits can only hope that some higher institution will take cognisance of the matter.
I have faith in the Supreme Court and hope it will ensure that the culprits do not escape justice.
Dinesh C. Arya,
‘Upper' caste hegemony has deprived the impoverished Dalits of their fundamental right to live. And we talk of inclusive, sustainable development. Where are the city-dwelling elite who take out candlelight processions to demand justice? Is the life of a poor man less valuable than that of an elite?
After years of legal battle, the Dalits of Bathani Tola have been left with greater agony and heartburns at not just losing their loved ones but also being denied justice.
The High Court acquittal is really disturbing. But more disturbing are the factors that led the ‘upper' caste people to perpetrate the heinous crime — a fact we seem to miss. Was there no government machinery or representative who could find a way out of the social tensions that were building up?
Sanjay Kumar Guntu,
Keywords: Bathani Tola carnage