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Caste violence-hit villages in Bihar battle for amenities

Caste violence-hit villages in Bihar battle for amenities


Tribune News Service

Aksheev Thakur

Patna, May 13

Cavalcades of politicians of various parties are making rounds of Bihar’s Laxmanpur-Bathe village, but the people are unmoved with signs of hope for justice and meeting daily needs, slowly dying.

In 1997, 58 Dalits were killed by members of the Ranvir Sena, a private militia of the Bhumihar community. Those killed included six girls in the age group of 3-12 years, nine boys, 26 women and 17 men. Of 26 women killed, eight were pregnant.

Sitting outside an unplastered house, Aitraya Devi said she had lost hope for justice. “December 1, 1997, is an unforgettable day in our lives. None of us here have forgotten that night. We have lost the hope of getting justice and moved on with our lives. We have to fetch water from the Sone river as there is no water facility here. Every year, a number of promises are made, but none gets fulfilled,” she said.

Another villager Rajvanshi Devi said though her son got a government job, political parties never bothered about improving the village.

At Senari village in March 1999, Naxals killed 34 upper-caste villagers, all from the Bhumihar community to avenge the Dalit killings at Laxmanpur-Bathe. Here also, villagers lament the lack of proper roads, water facilities and hospitals.

“We have hardly 250-300 villagers here. The parties could not cater to us. I am least bothered about the tall promises that are made at the national level. What will the political class do to improve our lives here? Leaders, including Ram Vilas and George Fernandes, came and promised so much, but what do we have?” said Pawan Kumar Rai, who runs a tea stall here.

Another villager Abhay Sharma said, “I have shifted my family to Patna. I was 20 when my father was killed. I came here to meet my old friends. I do not want to discuss the day when I lost my father. Senari doesn’t even have a good road and a hospital.”

Both villages are in the Jahanabad constituency that goes to the polls on June 1.

Bloodshed in 1997, 1999

  • In 1997, 58 Dalits were killed by the Ranvir Sena, a private militia of the Bhumihar community, at Laxmanpur-Bathe village. Those killed included six girls in the age group of 3-12 years
  • In March 1999, Naxals killed 34 upper caste villagers at Senari village to avenge the Dalit killings at Laxmanpur-Bathe; all those killed were from the Bhumihar community

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