All about Senari Massacre: First FIR to Court Judgement

Bihar(India): India’s Senari Massacre, where 34 upper caste men were brutally slaughtered, is in news again after the High Court turned down the judgement of the lower court. In its judgement, while acquitting all the accused of all the charges, two bench judge court said that the identification of the accused persons by the witnesses in the court cannot be relied upon to convict them. Moreover, the conviction in a criminal trial is required to be certain and not doubtful, the court added.

As per the order, the accused in these appeals challenge the common judgment of conviction dated 27.10.2016 and order of sentence dated 15.11.2016 passed by the learned 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Jehanabad in Sessions Trial No. 93/2013 / and 281/2015.

By the aforesaid judgment dated 27.10.2016, the accused had been convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 148, 302/149, 307/149 of the Indian Penal Code, 27 of the Arms Act and 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act. The lower court had awarded the death sentence to the convicts Bachesh Kumar, Budhan Yadav, Gopal Sao, Butai Yadav, Satendra Das, Lalan Pasi, Dwarik Paswan, Kariman Paswan, Gorai Paswan and Uma Paswan which has been later turned down by the Higher court.

Senari Massacre: A detailed story

On March 18, 1999, 22 years ago, the Vajpayee government in Delhi was celebrating its completion of one year. The same night, 500-600 MCC (Maoist Communist Center) people entered Bihar’s Senari village. There were 300 houses in Senari village in which 70 Bhumihar families lived. MCC criminals who entered with arms surrounded the village and pulled out men from their homes in order to kill them.

A total of 40 people of the Bhumihar society were selected and took out of the village to the Thakurbari temple. While 34 people were brutally murdered by slitting their throats and 6 people were left alive after slaying their stomachs.

The FIR had been registered at 10:00 AM on 19th March 1999 in Karpi Police Station under Section 154 of the Cr. P.C in respect of an incident that had occurred at Senari situated at a distance of 18 km from the Police Station between 07:30 PM to 11:00 PM on 18th March 1999. Also, The formal FIR would indicate that the police had received the information regarding the occurrence through a wireless message at 11:40 PM on 18th March 1999. However, at that time all the accused were able to escape the village.

The FIR was registered on the basis of the oral statement of Chintamani Devi, wife of late Awadh Kishore Sharma, one of the persons, who died in the occurrence, which was reduced into writing by Jamuna Singh, the Sub-Inspector of Police-cum-Officer-inCharge of Karpi Police Station on 19th March, 1999 at 2:30 AM at the house of Chintamani Devi situated at Senari under the police station area Karpi of district Arwal, which was then part of Jehanabad district.

During the investigation, the police recovered 34 dead bodies and inquests were held at the spot between 06:00 AM
and 09:50 AM on 19th March 1999.

What Chintamani said about the incident

In her oral statement, the informant Chintamani Devi stated that

My name is Chintamani Devi, wife of late
Awadh Kishore Sharma, resident of Senari, P.S.-
Karpi, District- Jehanabad (Arwal). Today, on 19th
March,1999, at 02:30 AM, I am giving my

statement before the SHO of Karpi Police Station
that last evening at 7.30 PM, my son Madhukar @
Jhabbu was reading in the light of a lantern on the
roof and I was also there. My husband came out of
the house after hearing some commotion. I and my
son saw that many persons had reached the lane
near the house of Engineer Saheb Radhe Shyam
Sharma and started knocking his door. At this point
in time, my son informed them that there was no
male member in the house. One person among
them called my son. My son, under the impression
that they intend to ask about someone, came down
the roof taking lantern with him and opened the
door. I also followed him and saw co-villagers (1)
Ramashish Bhuiyan, son of Sona Bhuiyan, (2)
Ramlakhan Bhuiyan, son of not known, (3) Sadhu
Bhuiyan, son of not known, (4) Venkatesh Bhuiyan,
son of Mati Bhuiyan, (5) Bhoda Bhuiyan, son of
not known, (6) Biphan Bhuiyan son of Kulanjan
Bhuiyan, (7) Murgi Bhuiyan, son of not known, (8)
Genda Bhuiyan, son of not known and (9) Radhe
Shyam Ramani son of Nathun Rawani and (10)
Suresh Bhuiyan, son of Ghoghar Bhuiyan, (11)
Bhaglu Bhuiyan son of Lootan Bhuiyan, (12)
Chamaru Bhuiyan son of Bodh Bhuiyan belonging
to adjacent Tola-Azadbigha, P.S. Karpi, (13)
Dukhan Kahar, son of not known of the village
Kutubpur, (14) Dulli Yadav and (15) Vyas Yadav,
both sons of Janardhan Yadav, of village
Gokhulpur and (16) Ramesh yadav son of

Suryadeo Yadav, resident of Kurtha Police Station,
District- Jehanabad present at my door in the lane.
Among them, persons belonging to my village were
dressed in lungi and ganji. Their lungi was half-folded and Dukhan Kahar, Dulli Yadav, Vyas Yadav
and Ramesh Yadav were in police uniform. Along
with them, there were other persons also whom I
could not recognize.
In the meantime, Murgi Bhuiyan
caught hold of the hand of my son and was
dragging him out. I implored before him, but he did
not pay heed to my request and took him to
Thakurbadi situated in the northeast direction. I
started crying. In the meantime, I heard the sound of 3-
4 rounds of firing and the slogan- “MCC
Zindabad”. Then, I came to know that they were
members of the MCC party. They took away my son
to kill him. My husband had also gone out of the
house after taking tea a little while ago. They took
him away. I could not bear the shock of my
husband and son being taken away by the
extremists. I proceeded towards the Thakurbadi to
set them free. I saw that hundreds of extremists had
assembled there. Amongst them, some were in
police uniform and some were dressed in lungi and
ganji and they were carrying pasuli and garasa (a
sharp-edged weapon). They tied my husband and
son by folding their hands. Genda Bhuiyan tied the
legs of my son and Murgi Bhuiyan tied the legs of
my husband and about 3-4 persons pushed them on

the ground and one person whom I did not
recognize slit their throat with a pasuli. When I
raised alarm, they pushed me abruptly as a result
of which I fell on a heap of straw and continued
watching them committing the crime. I saw that
they were bringing many persons of the village
forcibly and slitting their throats. Thereafter I saw
that the killings by cutting throats were mainly
being done by the accused Dukhan Ram Kahar and
Ramesh Yadav. I could not control myself any more
viewing the scene. I came back to my house crying
and beating my chest. After 2-3 hours, I heard the
sound of the explosion and the extremists left the place
and went towards the south of the village shouting the
slogan “MCC Zindabad”. Many persons raised
hue and cry. I too went to Thakurbari where many
villagers were crying. I saw many dead bodies
lying beside the dead body of my son and dead
bodies in large number were also on the northern
side of the village. I came to know from the
villagers that hundreds of MCC extremists had
arrived and surrounded the village and took the
villagers forcibly to Thakurbari in the north. I also
came to know that they had committed the murder of 3-
4 persons by slitting their throat with pasuli after
dragging them to the southern side of the village.
The villagers told me that besides my husband and
son, MCC people killed a number of persons near
Thakurbari and also in the southern direction of
the village. I also came to know that some persons

were injured. The extremists took away the DBBL
licensee gun of Mukesh Kumar son of Pashupati
Singh. They also demolished his house and door by
causing an explosion with dynamite.
I claim that hundreds of extremists
had assembled in the vicinity of my village last
night at about 7.30 PM. They attacked my village
being armed with a rifle, gun and pasuli and
committed this massacre outside the village and
took away the DBBL gun of my villager Pashupati
Singh. They also demolished his house with dynamite
and committed massacre for four hours and left the
place shouting “MCC Zindabad”(Hail to MCC).

Police filed three supplementary charge sheets, accused 77 persons

On perusal of the record, we found that the police submitted their 1st report under Section 173(2) of the Cr. P.C in
the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jehanabad on 16th June 1999. They sent up 56 accused persons for trial and intended to examine 82 witnesses. Thereafter, a supplementary charge-sheet was submitted on 27th October 1999 against one accused. The second supplementary charge-sheet was submitted by the police on 20th February 2000 forwarding 19 additional accused persons for trial. The third supplementary charge-sheet was submitted on 5th May 2000 against another additional accused. Thus, in all, 77 accused persons were sent up for trial.

However, out of 77 accused charges were framed against 45 accused persons by the Trial Court, due to death and other reasons, only 38 of them faced trial.

It should be noted that during the trial the prosecution had produced 30 witnesses in order to prove the charges framed against the accused persons. Although, the Patna High Court has not considered these witnesses enough for the conviction of the accused.

The court in its judgement said that “having analyzed the testimony of the witnesses examined before the court in respect of each of the convicts, there remains no doubt that the time of occurrence was dark, the site of the unfortunate massacre was beset with mayhem with villagers making desperate attempts to seek refuge in a place and position in which they would remain unseen by the miscreants lest they fell prey to their barbarism. In such a state of complete chaos, witnesses hiding in different corners of the village have claimed to identify one or more accused persons without any indication as to the source of light save the torches being carried by the miscreants. Thus, the identification of the accused persons by the witnesses in the court cannot be relied upon to convict them.”

The family members of the victims of the Senari massacre have disagreed with the court’s decision. Even though the court is talking about lack of evidence, what more evidence can there be in this massacre than the dead bodies of their family members? one of the victims told Neo Politico. While memorising the Senari massacre, the people of the entire region still tremble. But today, after 22 years, the acquittal of all the accused in the absence of evidence is like rubbing salt on their wounds.

State Government decides to challenge the verdict

The state government has decided to challenge the controversial verdict of the Patna High court in which all the accused are being released. The advocate cleared in his statement that the government is going to the Supreme court to challenge the decision given by the High court.

Shubham Sharma contributed reporting from New Delhi. Vikas Shukla contributed research.

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Shubham Sharma works as an editor-in-chief at the Neo Politico.

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