16 January, 2021

Caste Bullets Ricochet...

Rural violence spirals as caste 'armies' run amok

Caste Bullets Ricochet...

THE wretched of the earth have little to cheer about in central Bihar. In the last week of March alone, 18 people were killed in one of the most deadly outbreaks of rural violence. Barely six days after 10 Dalits were massacred in cold blood in Patna district's Haibuspur village, eight extremists—five from upper-caste Hindu 'army' Sangharsha Jan Mukti Morcha, three Dalit members of radical Left group Party Unity—were gunned down in two incidents. Enough to put besieged Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav on the hotline with Union Home Secretary K. Padmanabhaiah, the very man he had cocked a snook at barely two days ago. The SOS: he was setting up a task-force, but he needed paramilitary backup to counter growing extremist violence.

It all started on Holi-eve. A pamphlet distributed two days before had warned of real bloodletting—not just colours. Especially vulnerable were the Musahars, the poorest-of-the-poor community of traditional mouse-trappers who live in 58 thatched huts at the edge of the village.

By sunset, the...



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