New Delhi: For the first time President Pranab Mukherjee used his discretion while considering a mercy petition of four convicts in the Bara caste massacre case which is one of the several caste killings in the area in the 1990s.
The four men Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh and Dharu Singh were convicted of killing 34 upper-caste Bhumihars in Bihar in 1992. They were awarded the death sentence in 2002 by Supreme Court with a majority judgment of 2:1, with Justice M B Shah.
Setting aside the advice of the ministry to reject the mercy petitions the President has commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment. He has considered the issue on various facts relating to the case.
He said that the delay in handing over the mercy petitions by the state government and the observations made by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), among others, need to be considered before taking a decision.
Three of the four convicts in the Bara case are Dalits.Vyas Kahar, Naresh Paswan, and Bugal Mochi were sentenced to death in the same case in 2009.Later, Naresh was acquitted on grounds of lack of evidence.
The activists of the Maoist Communist Centre, now CPI-Maoist has allegedly killed 34 upper-caste Bhumihars in Bara village near Gaya in 1992 followed a string of massacres in 1990-91, in which 59 Scheduled Caste men were killed. Again in 1997, the upper caste militia, Ranvir Sena, allegedly carried out a ‘revenge attack’ for Bara, leaving 58 Dalits dead in Laxmanpur Bathe.