Ranvir Sena

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The Ranvir Sena is a Hindu organization [1] functioning as an upper-caste landlord militia[2] mainly based in Bihar, India. The group was formed by Rajput[3][4][5] and Bhumihar landlords in 1994, to enforce the position of Dalits as slave labor in Bihar.[6] The Ranvir Sena has been connected to a number of mass rapes and massacres including the massacre at Laxmanpur Bathe.[7] It has, on several occasions, been accused of human rights abuses.[8] It is regarded as a terrorist group and classified accordingly by the Government of India.[9] The group has frequently publicly claimed responsibility for its crimes with impunity.[7] The Bihar State government banned the Ranvir Sena in July 1995 and since then the Ranvir Sena has been proscribed. A statue of Ranvir Baba is situated in belaur village and on the 8th of October every year, Ranvir Jayanti is celebrated in the village. In 2015, evidence came to light that many BJP leaders, including Murli Manohar Joshi, C. P. Thakur, and former PM Chandra Shekhar were complicit in the Bihar Dalit massacres committed by the Ranvir Sena[1] while the governments of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi declined to order investigations into the massacres despite knowledge of them.[10]

History[edit]

The name Ranvir comes from Ranvir Baba,an iconic local hero of the Bhumihar caste and a supposed mythical figure, and Sena is a Hindi word (origin: Sanskrit sena, meaning 'army'). As the legend goes, during the late 19th century, Ranvir Choudhury, a retired military man and a resident of Belaur village in Bhojpur district, protected the rights of the Bhumihar, a land-owing upper caste of the State, against the domination of the Rajputs. It is said that, due to the activities of Ranvir Baba, the Bhumihars asserted their power in Bhojpur district and established regional supremacy of the Bhumihars.[11] In September 1994, Bhumihars of Belaur village in Bojpur district founded the Ranvir Sena.[12]

Rangbahadur Singh Rajput[13] was the first president of Ranveer Sena. He came from Ichari village, Jagdishpur, Bihar.[14]

The sena originated in Bhojpur in 1994 with the avowed aim of wiping out Dalit liberation organizations, particularly the Naxalite groups and the Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) Liberation in central Bihar. The Indian government considers the group a right-wing[citation needed] extremist group, which serve the needs of wealthy landowners. It was founded in September 1994 in Belaur village of Udwantnagar block, Bhojpur district following the merger of private caste armies like Savarna Liberation Army and the Sunlight Sena. The forerunners to the Ranvir Sena in Bhojpur district were the Brahmarshi Sena and Kuer Sena, Kisan Morcha and Ganga Sena. These groups were smaller in size and operated with a limited area.

Brahmeshwar Singh of Khopira founded Ranvir Sena.[15]

Brahmeshwar Singh was killed by unidentified gunmen on 1 June 2012 at Bhojpur (Bihar) while he was on his morning walk. Singh was facing life imprisonment in various massacres but was acquitted and released from jail in April 2012.[16]

A day-long curfew was clamped on the district headquarters town in Bhojpur district as tension escalated following the gunning down of Brahmeshwar Singh. Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC were also enforced in the district.[17]

Police and politician involvement[edit]

Some politicians are members of Ranvir Sena and some policemen have helped them on their raids.[18] For example, in a Ranvir Sena raid in Ekwari, a village in Bihar, in April 1997, policemen opened the doors of Dalit villagers so the Ranvir Sena could go inside instead of protecting the villagers as they were supposed to. Chandradev Verma, former member of Janata Dal Member of Parliament for Arrah put legalising the Ranvir Sena as one of his campaign points in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections.[15]

Mass killings[edit]

They killed 10 workers in Haibaspur on the 23 March 1997. They wrote the name of the organisation in blood on the village well before they left. Most of the people Ranvir Sena killed that night belonged to families allegedly supporting Party Unity, a communist group.[7]

On 11 July 1996, 21 Dalits were slaughtered by the Ranvir Sena in Bathani Tola, Bhojpur in Bihar.[19] Among the dead were 11 women, six children and three infants. Ranvir Sena mob killed Women and Children in particular as per the design so as to demolish any future resistance which they foresaw.[20]

On 1 December 1997, they killed 61 Dalits, which includes - 16 children, 27 women and 18 men with guns.[7] The same night,disfigured and shot to death 5 teenage girls.[7] Ranvir Sena said about the killings:

"We kill children because they will grow up to become Naxalites. We kill women because they will give birth to Naxalites."

[21]

After, they killed 8 low caste people who had ferried them across the river after the attack.[7]

On 25 January 1999, there was a massacre of 22 dalit men, women and children by Ranvir Sena in the village of Shankarbigha, Jehanabad due to their alleged Naxalite allegiance. There was another massacre two weeks later in the neighbouring village of Narayanpur, where Ranvir Sena killed twelve lower-caste people.[7]

In April 2012, members of the Ranvir Sena were acquitted of Bathani Tola massacre in Bihar.[20]

Year Description Trial
1996
  • Nadhi(Bhojpur): 8 killed in CPI(ML) attack on upper castes/landlords
  • Nadhi(Bhojpur): 9 killed in attack by upper castes on SCs
  • Bathanitola(Bhojpur): 22 Dalits killed by landlords, the worst of that year’s many attacks
1997
  • Raghopur (Patna): 6 Bhumihars killed by CPI(ML)PU
  • Haibaspur(Patna): 10 SCs killed by landlords
  • Ekwari(Bhojpur): 10 SCs killed by upper castes
  • Khadasin(Jehanabad): 8 SCs killed by landlords
  • Lakshmanpur-Bathe (Jehahanabad): 61 Dalits killed in attack by upper castes
  • Chauram (Jehanabad): 9 members of upper castes killed in CPI(ML-Liberation) attack
1998
  • Nagri(Bhojpur): 10 SCs killed by landlords
1999
  • Shankarbigha(Jehanabad): 23 SCs killed by upper castes
  • Narayanpur(Jehanabad): 11 SCs killed by upper castes
  • Usri Bazar(Jehanabad): 7 upper caste members killed in attack by CPI(ML-Liberation)
  • Senari(Jehanabad): 35 killed in attack on landlords, first strong sign of MCC gaining strength
  • Sendani(Gaya): 12 SCs killed by landlords
2000
  • Afsar(Nawada): 12 upper caste members killed in attack by OBCs
  • Mianpur(Aurangabad): 35 OBCs/STS killed, the last major attack involving the Ranbir Sena before it went into the background

[22]

Organisation[edit]

The Ranvir Sena is highly organized, has extensive influence among landowners in its areas of operation, and is supposedly well-endowed with financial resources.[23] Ranvir Sena cadres are militarily better-organised and are better-paid than any of the private armies of the past. The cadres operate mostly underground while their leaders are believed to be living in, on whose head the authorities had placed a reward of half a million Indian rupees, was the Supreme Commander of the Ranvir Sena until he was arrested in Patna on August 29, 2002 to face a large number of criminal cases, which included those related to massacres.[24]

Initial reports said that Shamsher Bahadur Singh was, on 7 September 2002, appointed new chief of the Ranvir Sena. However, according to a report of 25 December 2002, the chief of the Ranvir Sena was Bhuar Thakur until he was arrested with his two associates on December 24, 2002 near Karnol bridge on the Patna-Sasaram road in Charpokhri, Bhojpur.[25]

On 8 July 2011, Brahmeshwar Singh was released on bail after serving 9 years in jail for 17 cases, including those related to Dalit carnages in Bihar, after he was arrested from Patna in 2002. He was earlier granted bail in 16 other cases.[26]

Ranvir Kisan Maha Sangh is the political wing that tried to take part in the 2004 elections.[15] The Ranvir Mahila Sangh, a women's wing, has also been created. Its members too have been trained in arms use.[15]

On 5 May 2012, the founder of Ranvir Sena Brahmeshwar Mukhiya, floated a non-political outfit Akhil Bharatiya Rashtravadi Kisan Sangathan.[27]

On 1 June 2012, Ranvir Sena Chief Brahmeshwar Singh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Bihar’s Ara Town.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Venkat, Vidya (18 August 2015). "Cobrapost film on Bihar Dalit massacres 'exposes' BJP links". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Caste discrimination:a global concern" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. 2001. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  3. ^ http://www.theforthright.com/what-is-ranvir-sena/
  4. ^ http://www.jstor.org/stable/4411296?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  5. ^ http://www.tehelka.com/2015/08/bjp-helped-to-massacre-dalits-say-ranveer-sena-activists/
  6. ^ "Mindless massacre: Bhumihar 'private army' strikes terror". The Week (Delhi). 1991-10-27. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "NAXALISM, CASTE-BASED MILITIAS AND HUMAN SECURITY:LESSONS FROM BIHAR" (PDF). Tata Institute of Social Sciences. 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  8. ^ "Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: India: Human Rights Developments". Human Rights Watch. 2001. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived June 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Partners in crime: How Bihar politicians hushed up a Dalit massacre". Firstpost. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  11. ^ Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar (2009), Ashwini Kumar, Anthem Press, ISBN 978-1-84331-709-8, p. 129
  12. ^ "Community Warriors: State, Peasants, and Caste Armies in Bihar". Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "rediff.com: People will kill Ranvir Sena chief if he is released: Mazdoor Sabha". Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "History Of Ranveer Sena". dainikbhaskar.com. DB Corp ltd. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d Björkert, Suruchi Thapar (September–October 2006). "Women as arm-bearers: Gendered caste-violence and the Indian state". Women's Studies International Forum, special issue: Framing Gendered Identities: Local Conflicts/Global Violence. ScienceDirect. 29 (5): 474–488. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2006.07.005. 
  16. ^ "Ranvir Sena chief shot dead in Bhojpur - India - DNA". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  17. ^ "Curfew imposed in Ara Town after killing of Brahmeshwar Singh Mukhiya-Biharprabha News". news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  18. ^ "Slain Ranvir Sena chief`s son queers BJP poll pitch". Zee News. 
  19. ^ Shoumojit Banerjee (2012-04-17). "News / National : All accused in 1996 Bihar Dalit carnage acquitted". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  20. ^ a b Shoumojit Banerjee (2012-04-19). "States / Other States : For residents of Bathani, it is a horror they cannot forget". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  21. ^ Human Rights Watch, Broken People, p. 5
  22. ^ http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-lasting-signature-on-bihars-most-violent-years/957421/5
  23. ^ "Ranvir Sena". South Asia Terrorist Portal. 
  24. ^ "Shift Ranvir Sena chief to Tihar jail: cops". The Times Of India. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Ranvir Sena chief held". The Hindu. 2002-12-25. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  26. ^ "NATIONAL / NEW DELHI : Ranvir Sena chief released". The Hindu. 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  27. ^ "Tillers' outfit". The Telegraph (Calcutta). 5 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  28. ^ "Ranvir Sena founder Brahmeshwar Singh shot dead in Bihar". http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.