Apex court takes over Bihar dalit massacre case

Human rights activists and intellectuals have welcomed the Supreme Court admitting an appeal by victims of the infamous Bathani Tola massacre in Bihar, challenging the recent acquittal of all 23 accused by the Patna High Court.

Sixteen years ago, on July 11, 1996, as many as 21 landless poor, mostly women and children from dalit, extremely backward and backward muslim communities, were massacred by a private army of landlords, the Ranveer Sena, in Bathani Tola of Ara district. Though 23 of the accused were convicted by an Ara sessions court in 2010, the Patna High Court in April 2012, acquitted all the accused
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Chelameswar, on Monday, admitted an appeal against the Patna HC’s acquittal. Special Leave Petition of Bathani Tola survivors had been tagged with the appeal filed by the Bihar government.  

Informant Kishun Choudhury, whose wife and two daughters had been killed in the massacre, and Naeemuddin Ansari, who lost six family members, welcomed the SC action.

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