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Explained: What is the Behmai massacre

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New Delhi, Jan 18: A special court is expected to pronounce its verdict here on Saturday on the massacre of 20 people in Behmai village in Kanpur Dehat district, allegedly by bandit Phoolan Devi nearly four decades ago.

"We have much hope that the trial court is likely to deliver its judgment in Behmai massacre today," District Government counsel (criminal) Rajeev Porwal told PTI on Friday.

Explained: What is the Behmai massacre

Porwal said that defence counsel Girish Narain Dubey has submitted certain rulings of the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court before the trial court with a request to take cognisance of those rulings while delivering its judgment against the alleged accused.

The court is now expected to give its verdict on the role of the four surviving accused - Posha, Bhikha, Vishwanath and Shyambabu.

While Posha is still in jail, Bhikha, Vishwanath and Shyambabu are out on bail.

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    Three other dacoits including Man Singh are still absconding.

    The special court for hearing dacoity-related cases was expected to deliver the verdict in the 1981 Behmai massacre case on January 6, but it allowed the defence counsel to submit its written arguments by January 16, District Government counsel Raju Porwal said.

    Phoolan Devi raped, murdered accused no more; verdict of 39 years old Behmai massacre today

    Defence counsel Dubey had appeared before the court on January 6, seeking more time to submit written arguments and was granted 10 more days, the Government counsel said.

    "Bandit Queen" Phoolan Devi, who later turned to politics, along with her gang members were accused of killing the 20 people belonging to the Thakur community at Behmai village in Kanpur Dehat on February 14, 1981.

    The non-descript Behmai village, that shot into prominence after the killings, is 170 km from state capital Lucknow and over 400 km from national capital New Delhi.

    Phoolan Devi had stormed into Behmai in what was described as an attack to avenge her alleged rape there by two other bandits - Lala Ram and Sri Ram - both Thakurs, a dominant caste in the village.

    Two years after the incident, she had surrendered to the Madhya Pradesh police in 1983 and went on to become a Lok Sabha MP from Mirzapur. She was shot dead outside her MP bungalow in New Delhi on July 25, 2001.

    Initially, 35 people, including Phoolan Devi, were named as accused in the case. Eight of them were reportedly killed by police in separate encounters. Three others were reportedly absconding.

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