The Patna High Court on Friday acquitted 13 persons who were accused in the infamous Senari massacre case, in which an erstwhile Maoist group had killed 34 upper caste men in 1999 at the Senari village in Bihars Jehanabad district.
On March 18, 1999, the cadres of Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) killed 34 people belonging to a particular upper caste. The cadres forced the victims out of their houses and lined them up near a temple, before killing them with blunt objects and firearms.
A high court bench comprising Justices Ashwani Kumar Singh and Arvind Srivastava acquitted the 13 accused persons in the absence of evidence.
All the 13 accused were serving life terms after a lower court in Jahanabad district had sentenced them to life imprisonment.
Anshul Raj, the defence lawyer in this case, said: “There are no eyewitnesses in this case who can recognise my clients for their involvement in the massacre in Senari village. The prosecution lawyer did not present any witness or valid proof to hold them guilty. Hence the high court double acquitted them with immediate effect.”
The first chargesheet in this case was filed in 2002 against 74 persons. However, with 18 of them absconding, the trial was held against 56 persons.
The Senari incident was the last of a series of caste-related massacres in Bihar during end ’90s. It is believed to be retaliation to the Lakshman-Bathe massacre of 1997 in which 57 Dalits were allegedly killed by the members of Ranvir Sena, an upper caste private force.