Thursday, October 16, 2003

Going to gallows on the basis of caste?

ARUN KUMAR

PATNA: It is unbelievable but irrefutable. That barring Kare Singh, out of 36 prisoners waiting on the gallows in Bihar's Bhagalpur Central Jail, 35 belong to OBCs, dalits and Muslims.

Bhagalpur happens to be the lone jail in twin states of Bihar and Jharkhand where prisoners sentenced for capital punishment are sent for their execution.

Kare, a Bhumihar, is the lone exception. This caste has been categorised among forwards in the official list. He comes from Ramdiri village under Begusarai district.

The list of 24 other condemned prisoners includes the names of Hariballabh Singh, Bhumi Mandal, Binod Mandal, Indradeo Mandal, Arjun Muni, Dukho Sharma, Jagdish Shahni, Shivesh Mandal, Baidyanath Sharma, Bindeshwari Mandal, Upendra Mandal, Jalim Mandal, Ramshagun Mahto, Singheshwar Rai, Binod Prasad, Mithilesh Thakur, Manoj Rai, Raghunath Shahni, Ashok Kumar Gupta, Prabhat Kumar Rai, Mahendra Yadav, Durga Mandal, Manoj Singh and Naresh Yadav are among those convicts who all come from the OBC group.

Bir Kunwar Paswan, Krishna Mochi, Nandlal Mochi, Dharmendra Singh and Shobhit Chamar are among 5 convicts who come from dalit section of the society.

Funo Shah, Md. Ehsan Shah, Sheikh Shamshul, Sheikh Gyash, Md. Gayasuddin Khan and Naushad Alam are among those 5 convicts who are Muslims.

According to a survey conducted by a social activist, Prabhat Kumar Shandilya out of all these 36 condemned prisoners all 5 dalit convicts figure among those prisoners whose capital punishment have been confirmed by the supreme court. Rest 31 prisoners figure among those whose appeals are pending either at the high court or the Supreme Court.

Four out of total five condemned dalit prisoners namely Bir Kuer Paswan, Krishna Mochi, Nandalal Mochi and Dharmendra Singh have been sentenced to death by the TADA Court, Gaya. Their punishments have been confirmed by the Supreme Court. Shobhit Chamar was sentenced to death by 1st additional district and sessions judge, Rohtas and this has been confirmed by the apex court.

Source: The Times of India, October 16, 2003

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