The majority community, especially the family members of the 14 people convicted for the 1989 massacre in Logai village, are not happy with the verdict.
Sunil Kumar Khushwaha, a villager, maintained that the mob that attacked the village on the tragic day was nearly 10,000-strong and made up entirely of outsiders. Kushwaha alleged that the police had framed innocent villagers after they failed to catch the real killers.
Another villager, Pappu said his convicted daily wage-earning brother Subash Mandal was in Punjab at the time of the riots. Navin Mandal also insisted that his convicted brother Shivalal Mandal was innocent. Sudha Devi said her convicted husband Naresh Mandal had been implicated by some residents of Logai.
Most of the convicted are poor. In some families, more than one member was convicted. Sukhdeo Mandal, in his nineties, is the oldest to be convicted.
Vinay Mandal, son of the convicted accused, Jaddu Mandal, said the Nitish government had orchestrated the trial to get innocents convicted for minority votes.
Many said it was strange that the police, who had been unable to identify anyone initially for the massacre, had charged 24 people with murder.
DIG (Eastern Range) Girjanandan Sharma, who is supervising the fresh probe into the Bhagalpur riots cases, denied the police had framed innocents in the case. But he did accept that more people, besides those convicted, were involved. The police were not able to take action against them because there were no witnesses, the DIG said.