PATNA: Bihar Police on Sunday reopened 27 cases related to the 1989 sectarian riots in Bhagalpur, two days after the state government ordered a fresh judicial probe into the communal violence.
"Bhagalpur’s superintendent of police was directed to initiate proceedings to reopen 27 cases related to the riots for proper investigation," Inspector General (police headquarters) Anil Kumar Sinha said. A fresh inquiry will be conducted in these cases by investigating officers. More than 1,000 people were killed during the riots. Some of those responsible for the violence were convicted, but most of the guilty went scot-free.
The state cabinet had on Friday announced a judicial probe into the riots. The cases will be re-investigated by a serving or a retired judge of Patna High Court. The probe report will be submitted within six months.
Sinha said a decision was taken to reopen the 27 cases after it was found during a preliminary investigation that the accused had been let off despite solid evidence against them.
"For instance, one of the accused – Kameshwar Yadav – was absolved of the charge despite the fact that the complainant had identified him," he said. It appears that the investigation of these cases was not carried out properly. The responsibility would be fixed on the erring policemen and suitable action would be taken against them for their lapses, Sinha said.
A special police team might be set up to investigate the cases on a priority basis after obtaining the permission of concerned courts. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had promised during last year’s campaign for the state assembly elections that the riot cases would be reopened and the matter probed afresh.
The fresh judicial probe will also ensure adequate compensation for the victims. Last month, the Bihar government decided to bring out a white paper on the riots and formed a committee to look into various aspects of the violence. The government has also said that officials who allowed cases to be closed prematurely would be brought to book.