PATNA: Sixteen persons were sentenced to death by a Bihar court on Wednesday for their involvement in the Jehanabad carnage of 1997, in which 58 unarmed Dalits were massacred by the Ranbir Sena, a private militia of landlords.

Ten others were sentenced to life term and were also slapped with a fine of Rs.31,000 each by Additional District Judge Vijay Prakash Mishra.

Fifty-eight Dalits, including 27 women and 16 children, were gunned down by the Ranbir Sena at Laxmanpur Bathe in Jehanabad on December 1, 1997, sending shockwaves across the country.

The victims, landless agricultural workers and their families, were supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Party Unity. The main aim of the killers was to terrorise the CPI(M-L) Party Unity sympathisers to strengthen the stranglehold of the powerful landlords in central Bihar. — PTI

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