Patna, Jan. 4: Friday’s acquittal of 14 accused in the Amausi massacre by Patna High Court raises questions on the state government’s claims about “scientific probes” of crimes and improved policing.
The verdict is the fifth in a series of acquittals by the high court for “lack of evidence” or “vagueness of the charges”.
In October last year, the court had acquitted 26 accused in the December 1, 1997, Laxmanpur Bathe massacre in which suspected Ranvir Sena men killed 58 Dalits. On July 3 last year, it had acquitted nine out of 10 accused in the Miyapur massacre case in which suspected Ranvir Sena men allegedly killed 32 Dalits on June 16, 2000. On March 1 last year, the court had acquitted all 11 convicted in the Nagari Bazaar massacre in which 11 Dalits were killed in Bhojpur district on May 11, 1998. In the Bathani Tola massacre, too, the high court had, on April 16, 2012, acquitted all 23 accused. Some 21 Dalits were killed when the alleged Ranvir Sena raided Bathani Tola village on July 11, 1996. In the Amausi massacre, 16 high caste people were gunned down in October 2009.
The acquittals lead to the question — who killed 138 people in the five mayhems?
JD(U) sources said the government plans to appeal against Amausi verdict in the Supreme Court. But the Opposition is unmoved. RJD secretary general and MP Ram Kripal Yadav said: “People died... in cold-blooded murders. The government’s claim that policing is strong has been proved false. They were unable to provide evidence in court and hence the accused were freed.”
JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said: “It will be wrong to blame scientific investigation. These started some 8-9 months ago. The results show in recent criminal cases. The acquittals show the police didn’t do their work properly. But four of the massacres took place during RJD rule, when there was total lawlessness.”
Ram Kripal retorted: “During RJD rule, the government put the accused behind bars and the lower courts convicted them. The acquittals happened during Nitish’s reign.”
Leader of the Opposition, the BJP’s Nand Kishore Yadav, said: “The police didn’t investigate the cases properly and their chargesheets were weak. Proofs, if any, were not presented in court. The state government needs to think above caste and act against the judgments in a legal way now.”
“Definitely, there was a total failure on the part of the Bihar police,” CPI secretary Rajendra Prasad Singh said.
A policeman said on condition of anonymity: “We investigate every case properly and it has shown results.”