Peace on lips of changed Sena chief
|Brahmeshwar Mukhiya steps out of Ara jail after his release. Telegraph picture|
Patna, June 1: The self-styled chief of the outlawed Ranvir Sena, Brahmeshwar Singh, alias Mukhiya, of late, had begun talking peace.
“I have always believed in the Gandhian principle of ahimsa, (Mahatma) Gandhi’s ways provide lasting solution to establish peace,” the accused in 277 cases of murder told this correspondent in a chanced encounter recently.
Ironically, he was done to death in his backyard when he had begun talking peace. The 65-year-old and over 6-ft tall from Khopira village in Bhojpur district moved in company of six Kalashnikov-wielding men — his private guards — in the inaccessible villages of the state throughout the 1990s when his Ranvir Sena was locked in sanguinary clashes with the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and Peoples War Group (PWG) that merged with CPI(Maoist) in 2004. Mukhiya had survived that phase when the guns roared relentlessly in the flaming fields of Bihar.
Brahmeshwar was referred to as Mukhiya because he was the head of the Khopira panchayat for three decades (1971-2001) without break. The man who talked of Gandhi and ahimsa lately was quite opposite in his utterances when his Ranvir Sena executed the biggest-ever massacre of Dalits, killing 59 people including men, women, infants and pregnant mothers at Laxmanpur Bathe village in Jehanabad district in 1997.
“The life conceptualising in Dalit mothers’ wombs is like a serpent in the egg. The moment it comes out, it will attack with its venom. Lord Hanuman, while destroying the evil Lanka, had killed the demons in their womb,” Brahmeshwar had famously said, driving the Maoist cadres across the state on the boil.
Mukhiya was, by all accounts, an epitome of “hatred” against the rebels. “I founded Ranvir Sena in 1994 to save our beti and roti (daughter and bread),” Mukhiya told The Telegraph recently, elaborating: “The Maoists had imposed economic blockade on large parts of our farmlands. The farmers, helpless as they were against their (Maoists) firepower, were neither able to produce grains to keep their home fire burning nor had the money enough to marry off their daughters. I founded the Sena to liberate the farmers from the Maoists’ atrocities.”
Sources in police revealed that he had procured arms training for many of his militia members from retired armymen or policemen. Ranvir Sena was the best organised of all the landlords militia in the past. “But that phase is over now. The Maoists are gone and we are at peace. It is time to adhere to the Gandhian philosophy,” Brahmeshwar said.
His murder today enraged his supporters at Ara, compelling the administration to clamp curfew. It is a different matter that the Patna High Court’s order on April 17 acquitting 23 convicts in connection with the massacre of 21 Dalits (including women and infants) at Bathani Tola had sent the Dalits in general and CPI-ML (Liberation) in particular across the state on the boil. The CPI-ML (Liberation) has still been agitating against the high court’s order. Ranvir Sena had owned the responsibility of killing then.
Whatever is Brahmeshwar’s personal opinion or perception about him, he was, in fact, the by-product of the caste war being fought between the upper caste land owners and the Dalits organised under the banner of MCC, PWG and CPI-ML (Liberation) throughout 1980s and 1990s.
His Ranvir Sena — founded in the name of a peasant warrior of the Middle Ages — was virtually the organised manifestation of many landlords’ militias — Bhumi Sena, Savarna Liberation Front, Kuer Sena and many others in the past.
Most of these previous militias had lost, fighting against the better organised rebel groups armed with “ideological framework”.
Brahmeshwar was arrested in 2002 in connection with over 277 cases of murder against him. He came out on bail in July 2011, driving the opposition parties, mainly the Left outfits, to accuse “political patronage” to Mukhiya.
Though Brahmeshwar was never a legislator or MP, he was known for his political clout, particularly among legislators and parliamentarians representing the landed gentry in the Houses.
In fact, he had addressed a press conference in Patna in 2001 with TV cameras on and reporters jostling around to announce: “I have no remorse for what the Ranvir Sena has done..whatever it has done it has done in self-defence.” Mukhiya then was an absconder. Everyone watched and heard the dreaded Brahmeshwar addressing the media except the policemen who were “after him”.
Brahmeshwar was born in a farmer’s family in 1947. He was an Intermediate passout from SD Jain College in Ara. One of his sons is in the Indian Army and another, Indubhushan is the mukhiya of Khopira panchayat.