NHRC takes cognizance of missing mercy petitions of Bara massacre convicts
The National Human Rights Commission of India is considering the complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights against the apparent loss of mercy petitions of four death row convicts, Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh @ Dharu Singh convicted for killing of 35 persons belonging to the Bhumihar community at Bara village in Gaya district of Bihar on the night of 13 February 1992.
On 8 June 2001, the Sessions Judge, Gaya-cum-Designated Court under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 found them guilty and awarded death sentence. On 15 April 2002, the Supreme Court [Krishna Mochi &Ors Vs. State of Bihar (Appeal (Crl.) 761 of 2001)] confirmed their death sentence though Justice M B Shah had dissented against the award of death sentence.
The prison authorities claimed that Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh filed mercy petitions with the President of India on 3 March 2003.
However, the "list of mercy petition cases since 1981" received from the President of India by Asian Centre for Human Rights on 28 March 2013 does not show the names of Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh alias Dharu Singh. In fact, the President of India has not considered the mercy pleas of these four death row convicts till date.
"The apparent loss of mercy pleas of death row convicts Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh @ Dharu Singh shows the utter callousness of the government of India in handling cases involving life and death. It is perverse and absolute abuse of power," said Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
Asian Centre for Human Rights in a separate mercy plea to the President of India requested to commute the death sentences of Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh @ Dharu Singh to life imprisonment in the light of the Supreme Court judgment dated 21 January 2014 in the case of Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr Vs. Union of India & Ors. [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 55 of 2013].
(Posted on 20-02-2014)