The government will challenge the judgment in the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre by the upper-caste Ranvir Sena, Bihar Advocate General Lalit Kishore said.
"The government will challenge the high court verdict at the earliest by producing documents related to evidence against the accused," he told reporters here.
Kishore said the government has started the process to file an appeal in the apex court. "We are working to file an appeal in the apex court after decision to this effect was taken in a high level meeting," he said.
He said the Laxmanpur-Bathe incident was not a normal case of murder, "it was a carnage".
Citing lack of evidence against them, the Patna High Court Wednesday acquitted 26 people for the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre. Of those acquitted, 16 were sentenced to death and 10 were awarded life imprisonment in 2010 by the additional district and sessions judge of the Patna civil court.
Ranvir Sena men allegedly carried out the massacre Dec 1, 1997. According to police, charges were framed Dec 23, 2008, against 44 men for killing the Dalits, including 27 women and 10 children.
Laxmanpur-Bathe, situated on the banks of the Sone river in Jehanabad district, was targeted by the armed Ranvir Sena men.
According to police records, four Dalit families were completely wiped out in the bloodbath.
The state government decision to appeal against the high court verdict came on the day hundreds of people in Bihar took to the streets against the acquittal.
The protestors were led by the workers and leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML), which termed the judgment as "massacre of justice to poorest of the poor" and shameful.
CPI(M-L) workers blockaded the Mational Highway in Arwal and Jehanabad districts to protest the acquittals.
According to reports received here, families of the massacre victims also expressed disappointment over the acquittals.
Soon after the court verdict, CPI-ML general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said his party would move the Supreme Court against the Patna High Court verdict.
He said the CPI-ML will also appeal the apex court to appoint a special investigation team (SIT) on the lines of the one set up to probe the 2002 Gujarat riots.
"The Supreme Court should take cognizance of the acquittal of the massacre convicts and order an impartial probe under its direct supervision," he said.
--IANS (Posted on 10-10-2013)