Maoist claim inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petition
The Maoist Communist Centre workers had attacked the Bara village in Gaya district of Bihar on the night of February 13, 1992 killing 35 Bhumihars. The Bara massacre was one of the deadliest incidents carried out by Naxalites in Bihar between 1976 and 2001 which led to the emergence of Ranvir Sena, an army of the upper-caste Bhumihars. On June 8, 2001, a Gaya sessions-cum-designated court under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 found four persons - Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh alias Dharu Singh - guilty and awarded death penalty to them. The death penalty was confirmed by the Supreme Court on April 15, 2002. It has been claimed that all the four convicts had filed mercy petitions with the president of India on March 3, 2003 but the outcome of the same remains unknown.
However, the reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has shown that no application in respect of these four convicts is pending with the President. As per the information received from the President’s office, the President received 114 mercy petitions since 1981 till March 2013. The reply says that there were only six petitions from Bihar out of which four were rejected, and two were commuted to life.
According to the RTI reply received by the rights organisation from the President’s office, the President received 114 mercy petitions since 1981 till March 2013, six of them were from Bihar which have already been decided. While four of them were rejected, the death sentences of two were commuted to life. According to Asian Centre for Human Rights, a NGO which filed the RTI application, the apparent loss of the mercy pleas of the four shows the utter callousness of the government of India in handling cases involving life and death. The NGO has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission against the apparent loss of the mercy petitions of the convicts.
With the Supreme Court commuting the death sentences of 3 convicted for killing Rajiv Gandhi to life holding the Union government’s 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas as ‘inordinate’ and ‘unreasonable’, more such ‘mercy’ cases are likely to come up.