Manoj Chaurasia/The Statesman
PATNA, 20 APRIL: The NDA government in Bihar appears to be divided over challenging the Patna High Court’s order acquitting all the 23 accused in the killing of 21 Dalits at Bathani Tola massacre some 16 years ago. While chief minister Nitish Kumar and his Cabinet colleague Mr Jitan Ram Manjhi announced they would approach the Supreme Court against the HC order, the BJP leaders have sought to close down the chapter.
“One should not drag out the issue (acquittal of the Bathani Tola accused) too much. Please keep the chapter closed or this may further vitiate the social harmony in the state,” Bihar’s animal husbandry minister Giriraj Singh told reporters here today. Prior to him, state BJP chief C P Thakur had pleaded so while reacting to the HC’s acquittal of the accused persons.
The minister’s remark comes a day after Mr Kumar publicly announced the government would move the Apex court against the HC’s order. “The government will approach the Supreme Court soon challenging the HC’s order acquitting the 23 convicted in the infamous carnage case in the Bathani Tola,” the chief minister said yesterday. Earlier, SC/ST welfare minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, too, had put the government’s stand in the media saying “the government has decided to move the Supreme Court”.