Shri Phagu Chauhan,
The Governor of Bihar,
Dr Sri Krishna Singh Path, Taylor Rd,
Subject: Seeking urgent intervention to ensure the release of four prisoners convicted in the Bara Massacre Case (1992)
We bring to your kind attention the plight of four prisoners - Nanhe Lal Mochi, Veer Kuar Paswan, Krishna Mochi and Dharmender Singh- convicted in the Bara massacre case of 1992. The four are currently lodged in Gaya Central prison. The Bara convicts have been subjected to one of the most unfair trials marked by repeated violations and mental agony at each step. They were awarded death sentence by a TADA designated court in 2001 in a trial that condoned several evidential infirmities. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2002 though the bench was divided in its opinion. The mercy petitions filed by the prisoners in 2003 did not reach the designated authorities for over ten years due to bureaucratic negligence and it was only in January 2017 that the President, citing inordinate delay, commuted their death sentence to life imprisonment with no clarification on the terms of remaining sentence.
The four prisoners belong to extremely poor backgrounds. Three of the four are Dalits. They had been kept in long years of solitary confinement under inhuman conditions which have had a dehumanizing effect on their mental state. Nanhe Lal Mochi is the oldest prisoner in the Bara case and is above 80 years of age, and has respiratory issues. He has spent 21 years in jail. Veer Kuar Paswan is around 75, is a patient of Bronchial Asthma and has spent around 26 years in jail. Krishna Mochi is 66 and has also spent around 26 years in jail. He is suffering from mental abnormalities as a consequence of prolonged imprisonment. Dharmender Singh is around 55 years of age and has spent 20 years in jail. He had met with an accident while he was lodged in Bhagalpur jail and has since sustained chest pain and congestion which has increased over the years. Dharmendra Singh was also subjected to custodial torture and has sustained a permanent damage in his leg. Amidst the health crisis posed by Covid-19 which has necessitated decongestion of jails to prevent the spread of the disease, we want to bring to your notice that these four prisoners belong to the most vulnerable category of inmates most prone to the contagion with prior history of ailments and advanced age. Keeping them in jail would put them at a severe risk for life.
The Bara prisoners have lived a life of suffering and despite glaring flaws in the verdict which sentenced them, they have spent almost a lifetime in jail. Ever since the commutation of their death sentence, the prisoners have been appealing for their release. They have conveyed through their families that they would prefer death over every day mental torture, hopelessness and endless wait to eventually succumb under inhuman conditions. Their continued incarceration serves no purpose and works against the interest of justice in persistent violation of their right to life with dignity and health.
Your decision to release these prisoners would honour the constitutional responsibility entrusted upon you of upholding the principles of justice and also protecting the fundamental right to life of every citizen in your state. We, therefore appeal for your urgent intervention.
Secretaries, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)
Email: [email protected]