All the fourteen accused convicted for massacre at Logai village under Jagdishpur police station during communal riots in Bhagalpur were awarded life term on Saturday by SN Mishra, seventh additional district and sessions judge. They all had been convicted earlier on June 18 in connection with the massacre that had claimed 116 lives.
Rejecting the plea for capital punishment to the accused made by the prosecution side, the judge awarded life term to the accused observing "the rarest of rare crime in which capital punishment is awarded do not apply in case of the accused".
Bhagalpur has witnessed communal disturbances between Hindus and Muslims all along and riots occurred in 1924, 1936, 1946 and 1967.
Of all the incidences, Bhagalpur became notorious after the riots in October 1989. According to various accounts, some 1100 to 1891 people were killed, a majority of them Muslims.
Cause: According to some accounts, the stoning of a Ram Shila Poojan procession by some Muslims had triggered the riots.
Impact: As a fall-out of the riots, the silk-weaving industry suffered a decline.
Verdict: In 2007, 14 people were convicted of mass killings of Muslims during the 1989 riots.
Those awarded life term include Ramchandra Singh, a former assistant sub inspector of police posted at Jagdishpur PS. The other accused on whom sentence was pronounced are Ramdeo Mandal, Jai Prakash Mandal, Suryug Pd Singh, Prabash Mandal, Thakur Paswan, Sukhdeo Mandal, Shivlal Mandal, Naresh Mandal, Kuldeep Mandal, Arjun Mandal, Ajablal Mandal, Jaddu Mandal, and Subash Mandal.
One of the accused Jai Prakash Mandal is still absconding. The court also sentenced the absconding accused. The Logai massacre had taken place on October 27, 1989. The rioters attacked the village late in the evening. The rioters targeted members of particular community. After brutal murder of the victims the body of the victims were first thrown in a village pond and later dumped in two wells in the village.
The bodies of the victims were subsequently shifted to paddy fields and buried there by the rioters. The gory massacre first came to light on November 21, 1989 nearly a month after the massacre when the then additional district magistrate went to Babura an adjoining village in connection with relief work.