Among all the private
armies that came into being in Bihar, the Ranvir Sena is the most
powerful and most organised. It is a private army of upper-caste landowners
and is known to be operating in central Bihar.
The nomenclature ‘Ranvir’ has been adapted
from the mythical figure Ranvir Baba. As the legend goes, during the
late 19th century, Ranvir Baba, a retired military man and
a resident of Belaur village in Bhojpur district, protected the rights
of the Bhumihars, a land-owing upper caste of the State, against the
Rajputs. It is said that, due to the activities of Ranvir Baba, the
Bhumihars asserted their power in Bhojpur district. And ‘sena’ means
The Ranvir Sena came into existence primarily
to counter the influence of various left-wing extremist, Naxalite, groups
and the Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist [CPI-ML] (Liberation)
in central Bihar. It was founded in September 1994 in Belaur village
of Udwantnagar block, Bhojpur district following the merger of private
caste armies like Savarna Liberation Army and the Sunlight Sena. The
forerunners to the Ranvir Sena in Bhojpur district were the Brahmarshi
Sena and Kuer Sena, Kisan Morcha and Ganga Sena. These senas were smaller
in size and operated with a limited area. They could not sustain for
long and had withered away owing to repeated Naxalite onslaughts.
Dharichan Chaudhary of Belaur had founded
the Ranvir Sena. Its founding and continuing commander is Brahmeshwar
Singh of Khopira village.
The primary objective
of the Ranvir Sena is to wipe out left-wing extremist groups from Bihar.
Area of Operation
From Bhojpur district where it was formed,
The Ranvir Sena is highly
organised, has extensive influence among landowners in its areas of
operation, and is well endowed with financial resources.
Sena cadres are militarily better organised
and are better paid than any of the private armies of the past. The
cadres operate mostly underground while their leaders live in towns
and come to a village only when a massacre has to be planned and executed.
Brahmeshwar Singh, on whose head the authorities
have placed a reward of half a million Indian rupees, is the supreme
commander of the Ranvir Sena. He was arrested in Patna on August 29,
2002. Initial reports said Shamsher Bahadur Singh was, on September
7, 2002, appointed new chief of the Ranvir Sena. However, according
to a report of Dcember 25, 2002, the chief of the Ranvir Sena is Bhuar
Thakur. He, too, was arrested on December 24.
The outfit has an estimated strength of
400 underground cadres. Landowners in central Bihar finance the Sena
through “generous” subscriptions. Official sources, in the year 2000,
said each member of the Sena is paid between Rs. 1,100 and Rs. 1,200
per month for work that essentially involves committing murders. Besides,
the life of each cadre participating in a massacre is insured for a
hundred thousand Indian rupees.
The Ranvir Sena has also founded a front
organisation named Ranvir Kisan Maha Sangh, which looks after socio-economic
and political activities of the upper castes. The Ranvir Mahila Sangh,
a women’s wing has also been floated to organise upper caste women.
They have been trained, too, in the use of arms.
Naxalite organisations cite the patronage
extended by the various political parties as one of the reasons for
the survival of the Ranvir Sena. They also allege that the State administration
is partial towards the Sena. However, it is a fact that the Bihar State
government has banned the Ranvir Sena in July 1995 and since then the
Sena remains proscribed.
July 23: A self-styled commander of the
Ranvir Sena was arrested from Bihar’s Gaya district. Mahesh Sharma,
wanted in connection with several cases, including the massacre
of 15 people belonging to a backward caste at Miapur village in
Gaya district in year 2000, was arrested from his native Turki village
in Gaya. Superintendent of Police Amit Jain informed that a .315
bore rifle and 59 rounds of ammunition were seized from Sharma,
who was wanted in several criminal cases in the Gaya, Jehanabad
and Aurangabad districts.
February 21: The Patna High Court granted bail to
Brahmeshwar Mukhiya, the commander-in-chief of Ranvir Sena, who
had been behind bars in Patna’s Beur Jail since his arrest in August
of 2002. He had allegedly confessed of masterminding several massacres
in Bihar, including his involvement in the Lakhshmanpur-Bathe killing
in 1997. Officials, however, said that Mukhiya would remain in Beur
Jail for his involvement in many other cases.
November 14: The Ranvir Sena declared that it would
expand its network and that it would be using trained former army
personnel to counter the Maoists. In a strategy meeting held in
an unspecified village in the Patna district, the Ranvir Sena chose
leader Trayambakeshwar as the new chief and declared, “Now Sena
strategy, activities and plans would be guided by the new chief.”
July 15: Awadesh Sharma, a member of the banned
outfit Ranvir Sena who is charged with killing 12 people in Bihar
in 1999, was arrested. Sharma, an ‘area commander’ who had been
absconding, was arrested in Gaya district. Sharma is accused of
killing 12 people – seven from backward castes and five Dalits –
in an armed attack on the Zahirbigha and Khagribigha hamlets of
Sandani village in the Gaya district in April 1999.
February 15: The prime accused in the Miyanpur caste
massacre in 2000, Ambuj Sharma, belonging to the outlawed Ranvir
Sena outfit, is arrested. In Miyanpur village of Aurangabad district,
at least 34 backward caste Dalits and Yadavs were killed by the
Ranvir Sena on June 16, 2000.
November 25: Police raids Sendwa village under Parasbigha
police station limits in Bihar’s Jehanabad district on receiving
information that some activists of the banned Ranvir Sena, which
has threatened to avenge the killing and abduction of its cadre
during the November 13-attack by the CPI-Maoist in Jehanabad, had
assembled at the village and opened fire to terrorise the people.
During the raid, eight Ranvir Sena activists are arrested and a
cache of arms and ammunition is seized from them.
November 17: Cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist
(CPI-Maoist) and Ranvir Sena exchanged fire at Benibigha village
in the Arwal district. However, no casualties were reported in the
November 14: The CPI-Maoist kills nine Ranvir Sena
hostages they had abducted from the Jehanabad district jail a day
earlier. Three bodies, believed to be of the abducted Ranvir Sena
cadres, are recovered from the rail tracks near the jail. Five others
are killed in the adjoining Gaya district. The body of Visweshwar
Rai, a prominent Sena member, is found in a Jehanabad village.
November 13: Approximately thousand cadres of the
CPI-Maoist launches near simultaneous attacks on the jail, police
lines and a paramilitary camp at Jehanabad in the State of Bihar,
killing two persons and injuring five others. Approximately 12 activists
of the Ranvir Sena are abducted. Pamphlets left by the Maoists at
the jail said ‘Operation Jailbreak’ was deliberately made to coincide
with the ‘great November 13 Russian revolution’ and its aim was
to “rescue our comrades and to award death penalty to select Ranvir
Sena activists” lodged in the jail.
March 9: Two activists of the Communist Party of
India-Marxist Leninist (Liberation) are killed and four others,
including three women, are wounded by suspected Ranvir Sena cadres
in the Bhojpur district of Bihar.
December 7: Security in Patna around the Chief Minister
Rabri Devi’s residence is raised following the discovery of a banner
allegedly created and discarded by Ranvir Sena issuing threats to
the Chief Minister to be prepared to face dire consequences if she
chose to context the Legislative Assembly elections in 2005.
July 29: The Ranvir Sena threatens to kill the Jehanabad
Jail Superintendent and his family members for continuing to discriminate
against the upper caste prisoners who, they said, were being singled
out by the jail officials for mistreatment and humiliation.
April 26: Armed activists of the Ranvir Sena kill
three cadres of the banned People’s War Group (PWG) near the Karpi
police station area of Arwal district in Bihar.
March 28: The outlawed Ranvir Sena kills
three villagers at Bishunbigha and its adjacent villages in the
Jehanabad district of Bihar.
January 3: Members of the Ranvir Sena shot dead
five people and injure two others at Bariari village in the Arwal
district of Bihar.
November 17: Ranvir Sena threatens
United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA)
with dire consequences if it instigates violence against Biharis
residing in Assam.
November 15: An All India Progressive
Women’s Association (AIPWA) activist is shot dead by suspected Ranvir
Sena cadres in the Patna district of Bihar.
February 11: Ranvir Sena cadres
kill one person and injure two others at Newdhi village in the Gaya
district of Bihar.
November 3: Two persons are killed
by suspected activists of the Ranvir Sena in Dighi, Gaya district.
Ranvir Sena ‘area commander’, a key accused in the Bathanitola massacre,
is arrested in Dulamchak village, Bhojpur district.
October 2: Ranvir Sena kills an
activist of the CPI-ML (Liberation) in Noama village, Jehanabad
October 24-25: An estimated six
persons, including a woman, are killed in a clash between activists
of the Ranvir Sena and Communist Party of India––Marxist-Leninist
[CPI-ML] (Liberation) in Kurmuri village, under Sikarhata police
station-limits, Bhojpur district.
October 8: Activists of the Ranvir
Sena kill a woman supporter of the CPI-ML (Liberation) and her three-year
old daughter in Nuan village, under Shakurabad police station-limits,
September 23: Five left-wing extremists—Naxalites—of
the People’s War Group (PWG) are killed allegedly by activists of
the Ranvir Sena, in Majidpur village, Jehanabad district.
September 19: Police arrest 18 activists
of the Ranvir Sena in Kurmuri village, Bhojpur district.
September 7: Shamsher Bahadur Singh
is appointed new chief of the Ranvir Sena.
August 29: The Special Task Force (STF) of Bihar
police arrest Brahmeshwar Singh, head of the Ranvir Sena, and four
of his associates from a hotel in Patna. Official sources maintain
that Singh is the main accused in several criminal cases, including
in approximately 20 cases of massacre perpetrated by the Ranvir
Sena in central Bihar.
August 24: Three Ranvir Sena activists are overpowered
and lynched by local residents at a place under Nawada police station
limits, Bhojpur district, while they were attempting to escape after
killing a person.
July 7: Six activists of the Ranvir Sena are arrested
from Khairja village, under Kinjer police station limits, Arwal
district. Police sources say the arrested activists include Satish
Sharma, wanted for the June 16, 2000-massacre in Miapur, Aurangabad
district, in which 35 persons were killed.
June 11: Suspected activists of the Ranvir Sena
kill two persons and injure an old woman in Sarta village, under
Kinjer police station limits, Arwal district.
May 5: Ranvir Sena kills six Rajasthani dalit labourers
in Bhojpur district.
April 27: Ranvir Sena kills two children at Ara,
March 16: Three persons are killed by the Ranvir
Sena in Buddhubigha village, Arwal district.
November 28, 2001: Two persons, believed to be left-wing
extremists-Naxalites-of the People’s War Group (PWG), are killed
and two others injured by activists of the Ranvir Sena in Jhunathi
More village, Jehanabad district.
September 13, 2001 Seven persons seriously injured
in an attack by the Ranvir Sena at a village near the Paraiya railway
station, Gaya district.
July 9, 2001 Police arrest four activists of the
Ranvir Sena from Shahpur village, Rohtas district, and recover some
arms and ammunition from their possession.
September 10: Ranvir Sena kills six persons at Dumariyan,
June 16: Ranvir Sena massacres 35 persons at Miapur
village, Aurangabad district.
April 21: Ranvir Sena massacres 12 persons at Sendani
village, Gaya district.
February 10: 11 persons are massacred by the Ranvir
Sena in Narayanpur village, Jehanabad district.
January 25: 23 persons belonging to dalit and backward
caste communities are massacred by the Ranvir Sena in Shankarbigha
village, Jehanabad district, central Bihar.
December 1: Ranvir Sena massacres 58 persons at
Lakshsmanpur-Bathe village, Jehanabad district.
November 22: Ranvir Sena kills six persons at Katesar
Nala, Jehanabad district.
November 3: Ranvir Sena cadres kill eight persons
at Khadasin, Jehanabad district.
April 10: 10 persons massacred
at Ekwari village, Bhojpur district, by the Ranvir Sena.
March 23: Ranvir Sena massacres
10 persons at Habispur village, Patna district.
December 22: Six persons are killed by the Ranvir
Sena at Ekbari, Bhojpur district.
December 12: The Ranvir Sena kills five persons
at Khanet, Bhojpur district.
November 26: Ranvir Sena kills four persons at Purhara,
July 11: Ranvir Sena massacres 22 persons at Bathani-tola,
May 19: Three persons killed by Ranvir Sena at Nadhi,
May 5: Ranvir Sena kills five persons at Nadhi,
April 22: Ranvir Sena killed three persons at Nanpur,
February 7: Ranvir Sena cadres kill four persons
at Pathalpura Bhojpur district.
July 25: Ranvir Sena kills six persons at Sarthua,
April 4: Ranvir Sena kills three persons at Khoparia,