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Special court to hear Behmai massacre case on February 12: Know all about it!

Behmai Massacre Case: On February 14, 1981, Phoolan Devi along with her dacoit gang stormed into the Behmai village and shot dead twenty-two young men.

Jan 31, 2020 15:40 IST
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A special trial court in Kanpur will take up the Behmai massacre case on February 12, 2020. The Behmai massacre case involves the alleged killing of 20 people in Behmai village by Phoolan Devi and her gang almost four decades ago.

The Behmai massacre case was earlier scheduled for hearing before the special court on January 24 but it was postponed to January 30 due to a lawyers’ strike. The case has not made much progress and stands at the same place as before when the court had asked for the submission of the original case diary.

The original case diary went missing on January 18 when the case was listed for pronouncement of the verdict by Special Judge (UP dacoity-affected area) Sudhir Kumar.

Key Highlights

The Special Judge, Sudhir Kumar had pulled up the court officials for the absence of the original case diary at the time of pronouncement of the verdict. He had then directed the court officials to present the diary before the court on January 24.

The date of the case hearing was postponed to January 30 due to a lawyer’s strike. The date has now been further postponed to February 12 due to the continuation of the strike.

The special court is scheduled to deliver its verdict on the role of four surviving accused in the massacre case- Bhikha, Posha, Vishwanath and Shyambabu. Three among the four accused are out on bail. Only Posha is still in jail.

What is the Behmai massacre case?

On February 14, 1981, Phoolan Devi along with a dacoit gang stormed into the Behmai village to avenge her rape at the hands of two other dominant-class bandits- Lala Ram and Sri Ram-and shot dead twenty-two young men.

Several months earlier, Lala Ram and Sri Ram, two upper-class Rajput brothers, had taken Phoolan Devi to Behmai village after altercations between two gang factions, locked her up in one of the houses and raped her repeatedly for several weeks. She managed to escape and form a new gang along with some bandits from her own caste.

Phoolan Devi Surrender and Assassination

The Behmai massacre had led to a massive police hunt to track down Phoolan Devi but failed to locate her. Phoolan Devi began to be referred to as the Bandit Queen. She allegedly had the support of the poor people in the region, which helped her evade arrest.

Phoolan Devi finally agreed to surrender to the authorities in February 1983. She surrendered in front of the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and Goddess Durga in Madhya Pradesh, in the presence of the then Madhya Pradesh CM Arjun Singh. Over 10,000 people were present to watch her surrender her weapon.

She was assassinated on July 25, 2001 by three masked men outside her official residence in New Delhi.

 

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