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11 Arrested in East India Massacre

June 18, 2000

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Police have arrested 11 suspects in the massacre of 34 low caste people in India’s poorest and most lawless state, a news report said Sunday.

Police raided hide-outs belonging to the banned Ranvir Sena, a private militia financed by upper caste landlords, in Aurangabad district, 95 miles southwest of state capital Patna, Press Trust of India news agency quoted Inspector-General of Police Neelmani as saying. Neelmani uses only one name.

No one has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s killings. But police officials said the massacre, the third in less than two weeks, was in retaliation for the killing of 12 upper caste people.

Caste-related killings are quite common in Bihar state between the Ranvir Sena and communist guerrillas belonging to the People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Center.

On Sunday, police went on alert in the strongholds of communist rebels who are expected to take revenge for the massacre by attacking upper caste landlords.

Police urged the federal government to send 400 soldiers to strengthen security in vulnerable areas, United News of India news agency quoted the state interior secretary, U.N. Panjiyar, as saying.

Nearly 100 black-garbed gunmen, suspected to be members of the Ranvir Sena, stormed Miapur village early Saturday and executed a young girl, seven boys, 19 women and seven old men, said M.V. Rao, police superintendent.

The attackers fought a gunbattle with several armed villagers for 2 1/2 hours until the residents ran out of ammunition.

Update hourly