We are deeply saddened and outraged by the miscarriage of justice in the 1997 case of Laxmanpur Bathe massacre in Bihar, in which 58 Dalits including 27 women and 16 children, were killed allegedly by members of the Ranvir Sena, a private militia of landlords. All the 26 accused in this case, who were convicted on April, 2010 by the sessions judge, are acquitted now on the basis of the 'benefit of the doubt' by the High Court. This is deeply disturbing that even after 16 years of the massacre, the victims' families have no justice or peace. There are reports that the victims' families are already being threatened by the accused. It is also surprising that High Court has disbelieved the testimonies of several victims' and their families as being unreliable. It is a national shame and could further erode people's trust in the criminal justice system. The prosecution should take full responsibility for mishandling of the case in the High court.
Bihar government's announcement about appealing to the Supreme Court is not an adequate response. Bathe massacre is one of the most brutal caste-based violence in Bihar’s history and should serve as a strong reminder against any such future violence. For that to happen, we need to ensure speedy and full justice to victims' families. This case also underlines the need for urgent and comprehensive police and judicial reforms in India.
Aam Aadmi Party calls upon all the justice seeking citizens and organisations to keep vigil on this case and demands that a special team be appointed to ensure that the case is now pursued in right earnest.
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