July 9, 2011, Patna: Brahameshwar Singh, chief of Ranvir Sena, an upper caste militia notorious for massacring Dalits, was released on Friday after a Bihar court granted him bail, police said. The Jehanabad district civil court granted him bail after hearing his petition. The Sena chief was in jail for nine years. He was earlier given bail in 16 cases.
As he walked out of the Ara jail in Bhojpur district, about 60 km from in Patna, Singh said that he had full faith in the judiciary.
He was arrested in 2002 from Patna. He is believed to have masterminded the killings of at least 300 Dalits and backward caste people since forming the group in 1994.
Brahmeshwar Singh: Born out of the conflict between haves and have-nots
Ranvir Sena, the dreaded upper caste militia from Bihar, was formed way back in 1994 by the feudal forces to take on the ultra-left organisations such as the CPI (ML) Liberation, Party Unity and the MCCI, which were championing the rights of the poor, landless peasants belonging to the underprivileged sections of society.
The rapid spread of Naxal movement in central and south Bihar since 1980s and its growing popularity among the farm labourers, who mostly worked in the fields of prosperous farmers, was a matter of growing concern for the upper caste landlords in the state.
It was the influential landlords, mostly belonging to Bhumihar caste, who backed the private militia to the hilt in its fight against the Naxalites. The organisation evolved into an armed outfit under the leadership of Brahemshwar Singh aka Mukhiyaji, himself a landlord from Bhojpur district, who tried to unite the upper caste landlords under the Sena umbrella.
The Sena went on to attack the villages of the scheduled castes and killed more than 277 persons, including women and children, belonging to the poorest of the poor sections of society, in various carnages. The Lalu Prasad government banned the Sena in July 1995 but the outfit continued to inflict atrocities on the poor people on the suspicion of helping Naxals.
The Sena is said to have masterminded at least 29 carnages in different districts of central and south Bihar between 1995 and 2000. It was only after the dramatic arrest of Mukhiyaji by the Patna police in 2002 that dealt a body blow to the Sena.
But Ranvir Sena was not the first of private armies raised by the upper castes. It followed in the footsteps of organisations such as Savarna liberation Army, Sunlight Sena, Brahmarshi Sena, Kuer Sena and Kisan Morcha - all floated by the Bhumihar and Rajput leaders in the state. But Ranvir Sena had a wider influence on many districts such as Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Gaya, Aurangabad in central Bihar.
Ranvir Sena was organised and exercised influence on the majority of the local landlords. But in the name of protecting the rights of landlords, it massacred innocent women and children whose only fault was that they belonged to the poorest sections of society with no land of their own to till.