11 Dalits Massacered in Bihar

The Pioneer, Sat. May 13, 2000

11 labourers massacred in Bihar

Pioneer News Service/Patna

At least 11 labourers were killed when hired goons of a sand contractor fired at them late on Thursday night, at village Hasanpura Balughat in Lakhisarai district, 100 km south-east of the State capital.

The victims belonged mainly to the Dalit and backward castes and were engaged in sand mining work on behalf of a contractor. Even after 20 hours of the incident, police have not made any breakthrough in either identifying the architect of the massacre.

DIG Police P K Thakur admitted before reporters that efforts were on to track down the killers, but so far nothing definite had emerged.

Reports said that around two dozen armed men descended on the ill-fated village located on the banks of the Ganga, late on Thursday night and fired at the labourers engaged in sand mining. Ten of them died on the spot and one succumbed to injuries on the way to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). Two other labourers are battling for their life at the PMCH.

Nine of the ten men who died on the spot have been identified as: Karu Thakur, Malu Rajak, Vijay Paswan, Dharmendra Paswan, Bhim Paswan, Ram Balak Paswan, Krishna Manjhi, Nirdhan Kumar. A truck driver and another man who died on the way to the hospital, have still not been identified.

Reports said that tensions had been building up in the area over control of the highly lucrative sand mining operations, between powerful rival mafia gangs active in the region. The tussle for supremacy mainly veered around to control of illegal mining that allegedly took place in connivance with State government officials.

Even as eyewitnesses and locals were open about naming the killer gang and its chieftain, police were obviously acting under pressure to implicate some other equally well-known criminals, with an eye on caste and political ramifications.

Senior police officials including Director General of Police (DGP) K A Jacob, dashed to the site in the morning and was camping there till the evening. Mr Jacob said that a a group of armed criminals surrounded the village after midnight and opened fire at the miners, who were digging sand and loading it onto a truck.

Muthu Murugan
Dalitstan Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3 (April 2000)

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