7-Year Jail Term for Bant’s Attackers

Seven of the attackers of Bant Singh Jhabbar, responsible for the assault in January 2006 that cost him three of his limbs, have been sentenced by a local court to seven years of rigorous imprisonment. The court also handed out a fine of Rs 7,000 to each accused.

The verdict, however, while being an acknowledgement of the assault, is far from satisfactory or adequate. The bench took a very narrow interpretation of the SC/ST Act, and refused to apply it, holding that Bant in his initial statement had not claimed it to be a caste assault. This interpretation negates the complex social reality of class, caste and political identity. The attack on Bant was an act of intimidation to him as a Dalit agricultural labour leader, cultural activist and CPI(ML) activist, fighting for justice for his raped daughter, to ‘punish’ him for confronting the feudal forces of Mansa; and also a gruesome warning against others of his class and caste against political assertion.

The CPI(ML) has decided to appeal against the mild verdict in the high court, demanding life imprisonment for the attackers. 

Liberation Archive