It was far from poetic, but it was justice alright. Two months after he was acquitted of the Bathani Tola massacre by the Patna high court, founder and chief of the Ranvir Sena Brahmeshwar Singh was shot dead by armed assailants on Friday morning.
In 1994, Singh a post graduate in political science from Patna University founded the Ranvir Sena in Belaur village of Bihar’s Bhojpur district.
This sena (army) of uppercaste landowners was created to neutralise the influence of the Reds. The core group of Ranvir Sena was composed of bhumihars.
Between 1995 and 2000, the Sena was involved in 29 massacres that led to the deaths of several CPI-ML-Liberation group cadres.
Singh himself was named in 22 cases but was absolved in 16 of these. His luck ran out in August 2002 when he was cornered by intelligence agencies in a hotel in Patna and thereafter, forced to surrender.
Singh spent the next nine years in jail. He was released on bail in 2011. Since then, he lived in his village in Bhojpur, maintaining a low profile. In April this year, the Patna High Court ruled that the prosecution had not been able to prove its case against him and others accused of the massacre.
Singh’s killing has huge ramifications for a politically surcharged state Bihar. A couple of weeks ago, Singh had criticised the NDA regime led by Nitish Kumar and praised Lalu Prasad, Yadav.
"The situation was much better in Prasad's time,” he had said.
Lately, he had revived the once defunct Rashtrawadi Kisan Manch and had been addressing meetings in central Bihar with the aim of bringing landowners, marginal farmers and landless under one umbrella.
When the unidentified gunmen pumped several bullets into Singh alias Mukhiaji they ended a life, but many fear his killing could give his supporters an excuse to revive the militia.