UK Dalit organisations write to PM Modi about his silence and inaction over the role of senior BJP leaders in the Dalit massacres in Bihar
In the run up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, four of UK’s foremost Dalit organisations have written to Narendra Modi, expressing their dismay about the recent revelations by investigative news portal Cobrapost. Their letter notes that senior BJP politicians were involved in the massacres of some 144 Dalit men, women and children in Bihar and that Mr Modi has so far neither spoken out against the self-confessed killers and their accomplices nor taken any action against them.
Spokespersons from the organisations urge Mr Modi to act because his ‘ lack of action on this issue gives the shocking message that Dalit and oppressed caste lives do not matter in India’ . They urge him to act urgently to ensure that the self-confessed killers are brought to justice and that all the politicians, including senior BJP politicians, are dismissed from their posts, arrested and charged.
The letter in full is as follows:
To the Prime Minister of India,
Panchavati, 7 Race Course Road, New Delhi
19 August 2015
Dear Shri Narendra Modi,
We are deeply shocked by the recent horrifying revelations about the massacres of Dalit and other oppressed-caste people in Bihar and are writing to you to express our dismay that you have so far neither spoken out against the killers and their accomplices nor taken any action against them.
The revelations caught on camera by the news portal Cobrapost’s are briefly as follows:
- The Ranveer Sena, the upper caste landlord army in Bihar, perpetrated a number of major massacres of Dalits and oppressed caste people including at Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe, Shankarbigha, Miyanpur and Ekwari, between 1994 and 2000, brutally murdering some 144 men, women and children simply for demanding basic rights and dignity and for supporting the Communist Party of India(Marxist- Leninist) .
- Ranveer Sena commanders (formerly acquitted by the Patna High Court) boasted in recorded interviews not only that they committed these massacres but that they were backed by top BJP leaders who were their political patrons and funders. They also confessed that powerful politicians helped them get arms and military training from serving and retired Indian Army men and that they had the support of former Prime Minister (the late Chandrashekhar), and top BJP leaders including former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, former Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi and Vice President of the BJP, CP Thakur.
- The Ranveer Sena commanders also said on camera that Brahmeshwar Mukhiya masterminded all the massacres of poor Dalit women and children. Yet, as you know, the BJP’s Giriraj Singh has shamelessly described Brahmeshwar as Bihar’s Gandhi.
The Amir Das Commission, which was set up in 1997, after the Laxmanpur Bathe killings, to investigate these massacres was disbanded in 2005 by Nitish Kumar of the JDU, then in alliance with the BJP, in order to appease and shield his erstwhile BJP allies.
As you may know the Patna High Court acquitted all the perpetrators claiming there was ‘no evidence’, and that eyewitnesses were lying. The statements of the acquitted men to Cobrapost prove that the eyewitnesses told the truth.
Can such horrific violence be tolerated in a democratic country? Unfortunately your lack of action on this issue gives the shocking message that Dalit and oppressed caste lives do not matter in India. We urge you therefore to act urgently to ensure:
- that the Ranveer Sena commanders who continue to walk free and boast about the murders they have committed are arrested and charged
- that all the politicians including senior BJP politicians who are named in the Amir Das Commission report are dismissed from their posts, arrested and charged
- that the Army and ex-Army personnel who trained and armed the banned Ranveer Sena terrorists are also brought to justice.
Meena Varma (Dalit Solidarity Network)
Arun Kumar (Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisation, UK)
Davinder Prasad (CasteWatchUK)
Ramesh Klair (Sri Guru Ravidass Global Organisation for Human Rights)
Ravi Kumar (Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance)
Amrit Wilson (South Asia Solidarity Group)
More on the Cobrapost revelations: