Survivors of Bihar massacres send memorandum

On July 11, 1996, Mohammad Naeemuddin Ansari saw six members of his family massacred while he hid in a ditch. "I saw them burn my house. They smoked out my daughter, seven-year-old son and a three-month-old baby. They all took bullets from the front," he says, recalling how 60 men belonging to the Ranveer Sena attacked Dalits and burnt their houses.

Seventeen years later, Ansari, along with hundreds of survivors and eyewitnesses of the Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe and Nagari Bazaar massacres, Wednesday sent a memorandum to President Mukherjee challenging the Patna HC verdicts acquitting all the accused.

A public hearing for this was held at Jantar Mantar Wednesday. The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), which organised the event, said the memorandum was signed by five million people of Bihar to "remind that in 1997, the Bihar government was prompted to set up the Justice Amir Das Commission to probe and identify political leaders backing the Ranveer Sena. This commission was wound up by the present Bihar government when it was on the point of submitting its report."

Survivors have appealed to the President "to ensure the reopening of the commission or else institute a fresh inquiry commission so that the political actors implicated in the massacre can be identified and punished."

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