Ranvir Sena

The Ranvir Sena is a caste based militia[1] functioning as an upper caste landlord group,[2] mainly based in the state of Bihar in eastern India and some parts of north India.[3] The group was formed by upper-caste Bhumihar landlords[4] in 1994, with the aim to counter the influence of various left-wing militants, Naxalite groups and the Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist [CPI-ML] (Liberation) in central Bihar.[5] The Ranvir Sena has been connected to a number of massacres including the massacre at Laxmanpur Bathe.[6] It has, on several occasions, been accused of human rights abuses.[7] The group has frequently publicly claimed responsibility for its crimes with impunity.[6] The Bihar State government banned the Ranvir Sena in July 1995 and since then the Ranvir Sena has been proscribed.

Ranvir Sena
Participant in Naxalite–Maoist insurgency
Active1994 - present
Bhumihar caste supremacy
LeadersBrahmeshwar Singh
HeadquartersBhojpur district, Bihar
AlliesKuer Sena
Opponent(s)Lal Sena
Maoist Communist Centre of India


The name Ranvir comes from Ranvir Baba, an iconic local hero of the Bhumihar caste and a supposed mythical figure, and Sena is a Hindi word (origin: Sanskrit sena, meaning 'army'). As the legend goes, during the late 19th century, Ranvir Choudhury, a retired military man and a resident of Belaur village in Bhojpur district, protected the rights of the Bhumihar, a land-owing upper caste of the State, against the domination of the Rajputs. It is said that, due to the activities of Ranvir Baba, the Bhumihars asserted their power in Bhojpur district and established regional supremacy of the Bhumihars.[8] In September 1994, Bhumihars of Belaur village in Bhojpur district founded the Ranvir Sena.[9]

Rangbahadur Singh Rajput[10] was the first president of Ranveer Sena. He came from Ichari village, Jagdishpur, Bihar.[11]

Brahmeshwar Singh of Khopira founded Ranvir Sena.[12]

Brahmeshwar Singh was killed by unidentified gunmen on 1 June 2012 at Bhojpur (Bihar) while he was on his morning walk. Singh was facing life imprisonment in various massacres but was acquitted and released from jail in April 2012.[13]

A day-long curfew was clamped on the district headquarters town in Bhojpur district as tension escalated following the gunning down of Brahmeshwar Singh. Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC were also enforced in the district.[14]

Police and politician involvement

Some politicians are members of Ranvir Sena and some policemen have helped them on their raids.[15] For example, in a Ranvir Sena raid in Ekwari, a village in Bihar, in April 1997, policemen opened the doors of Dalit villagers so the Ranvir Sena could go inside instead of protecting the villagers as they were supposed to. Chandradev Verma, former member of Janata Dal Member of Parliament for Arrah put legalising the Ranvir Sena as one of his campaign points in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections.[12]

Chandradev Verma, former member of Janata Dal Member of Parliament for Arrah put legalising the Ranvir Sena as one of his campaign points in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections.[12]

In 2015, in a media sting operation, evidence came to light that BJP leaders, including Murli Manohar Joshi and C. P. Thakur and the former PM Chandra Shekhar were complicit in the Bihar Dalit massacres committed by the Ranvir Sena[1] while the governments of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi declined to order investigations into the massacres despite knowledge of them.[16]

Mass killings

They killed 10 workers in Haibaspur on the 23 March 1997. They wrote the name of the organisation in blood on the village well before they left. Most of the people Ranvir Sena killed that night belonged to families allegedly supporting Party Unity, a communist group.[6]

On 11 July 1996, 21 Dalits were slaughtered by the Ranvir Sena in Bathani Tola, Bhojpur in Bihar.[17] Among the dead were 11 women, six children and three infants. Ranvir Sena mob killed women and children in particular as per the design so as to deter any future resistance which they foresaw.[18]

On 1 December 1997, they killed 61 Dalits, which includes – 16 children, 27 women and 18 men with guns.[6] The same night,disfigured and shot to death 5 teenage girls.[6]

Ranvir Sena said about the killings:

"We kill children because they will grow up to become Naxalites. We kill women because they will give birth to Naxalites."[19]

After, they killed 8 people from Mallah community who had ferried them across the river after the attack.[6]

On 25 January 1999, there was a massacre of 22 dalit men, women and children by Ranvir Sena in the village of Shankarbigha, Jehanabad due to their alleged Naxalite allegiance. There was another massacre two weeks later in the neighboring village of Narayanpur, where Ranvir Sena killed twelve lower-caste people.[6]

In April 2012, members of the Ranvir Sena were acquitted of Bathani Tola massacre in Bihar.[18]

Year Description Trial
  • Nadhi (Bhojpur): 8 killed in CPI(ML) attack on upper castes/landlords
  • Nadhi (Bhojpur): 9 killed in attack by upper castes on SCs
  • Bathanitola (Bhojpur): 22 Dalits killed by landlords, the worst of that year’s many attacks
  • Raghopur (Patna): 6 Bhumihars killed by CPI(ML)
  • Haibaspur (Patna): 10 SCs killed by landlords
  • Ekwari (Bhojpur): 10 SCs killed by upper castes
  • Khadasin (Jehanabad): 8 SCs killed by landlords
  • Lakshmanpur-Bathe (Jehahanabad): 61 Dalits killed in attack by upper castes
  • Chauram (Jehanabad): 9 members of upper castes killed in CPI(ML-Liberation) attack
  • Nagri (Bhojpur): 10 SCs killed by landlords
  • Shankarbigha (Jehanabad): 23 SCs killed by upper castes
  • Narayanpur (Jehanabad): 11 SCs killed by upper castes
  • Usri Bazar (Jehanabad): 7 upper caste members killed in attack by CPI(ML-Liberation)
  • Senari (Jehanabad): 35 killed in attack on landlords, first strong sign of MCC gaining strength
  • Sendani (Gaya): 12 SCs killed by landlords
  • Afsar (Nawada): 12 upper caste members killed in attack by OBCs
  • Mianpur (Aurangabad): 35 OBCs/SCs killed, the last major attack involving the Ranbir Sena before it went into the background[20]


The Ranvir Sena is highly organized, has extensive influence among landowners in its areas of operation, and is supposedly well-endowed with financial resources.[21] Ranvir Sena cadres are militarily better-organised and are better-paid than any of the private armies of the past. The cadres operate mostly underground while their leaders are believed to be living in towns.

Brahmeshwar Singh 'Mukhiya', the founder chief of the Ranvir Sena, on whose head the authorities had placed a reward of half a million Indian rupees, was the Supreme Commander of the Ranvir Sena until he was arrested in Patna on August 29, 2002 to face a large number of criminal cases, which included those related to massacres.[22]

Initial reports said that Shamsher Bahadur Singh was, on 7 September 2002, appointed new chief of the Ranvir Sena. However, according to a report of 25 December 2002, the chief of the Ranvir Sena was Bhuar Thakur until he was arrested with his two associates on December 24, 2002 near Karnol bridge on the Patna-Sasaram road in Charpokhri, Bhojpur.[23]

On 8 July 2011, Brahmeshwar Singh was released on bail after serving 9 years in jail for 17 cases, including those related to Dalit carnages in Bihar, after he was arrested from Patna in 2002. He was earlier granted bail in 16 other cases.[24]

Ranvir Kisan Maha Sangh is the political wing that tried to take part in the 2004 elections.[12] The Ranvir Mahila Sangh, a women's wing, has also been created. Its members too have been trained in arms use.[12]

On 5 May 2012, the founder of Ranvir Sena Brahmeshwar Mukhiya, floated a non-political outfit Akhil Bharatiya Rashtravadi Kisan Sangathan.[25]

On 1 June 2012, Ranvir Sena Chief Brahmeshwar Singh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Bihar’s Ara Town.[26]

See Also


  1. "NDTV". NDTV India. 11 October 2017.
  2. "बिहार में रणवीर सेना के पूर्व कमांडर धनजी सिंह सहित 3 की गोली मारकर हत्या". NDTV India. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  3. Dwivedi, Om Prakash; Julie Rajan, V. G (2016-02-26). Human Rights in Postcolonial India. ISBN 9781317310112.
  4. Sinha, Arvind; Sinha, Indu (2001). "Ranveer Sena and 'Massacre Widows'". Economic and Political Weekly. 36 (43): 4095–4099. JSTOR 4411296.
  5. "Ranvir Sena". South Asia terrorism Portal. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  6. "NAXALISM, CASTE-BASED MILITIAS AND HUMAN SECURITY:LESSONS FROM BIHAR" (PDF). Tata Institute of Social Sciences. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  7. "Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: India: Human Rights Developments". Human Rights Watch. 2001. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  8. Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar (2009), Ashwini Kumar, Anthem Press, ISBN 978-1-84331-709-8, p. 129
  9. Kumar, Ashwani (2008). Community Warriors: State, Peasants, and Caste Armies in Bihar. ISBN 9781843317098. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  10. "rediff.com: People will kill Ranvir Sena chief if he is released: Mazdoor Sabha". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  11. "History Of Ranveer Sena". dainikbhaskar.com. DB Corp ltd. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  12. Björkert, Suruchi Thapar (September–October 2006). "Women as arm-bearers: Gendered caste-violence and the Indian state". Women's Studies International Forum. 29 (5): 474–488. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2006.07.005.
  13. "Ranvir Sena chief shot dead in Bhojpur – India – DNA". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  14. "Curfew imposed in Ara Town after killing of Brahmeshwar Singh Mukhiya-Biharprabha News". news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  15. "Slain Ranvir Sena chief's son queers BJP poll pitch". Zee News.
  16. "Partners in crime: How Bihar politicians hushed up a Dalit massacre". Firstpost. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  17. Shoumojit Banerjee (2012-04-17). "News / National : All accused in 1996 Bihar Dalit carnage acquitted". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  18. Shoumojit Banerjee (2012-04-19). "States / Other States : For residents of Bathani, it is a horror they cannot forget". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  19. Human Rights Watch, Broken People, p. 5
  20. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-lasting-signature-on-bihars-most-violent-years/957421/5
  21. "Ranvir Sena". South Asia Terrorist Portal.
  22. "Shift Ranvir Sena chief to Tihar jail: cops". The Times Of India.
  23. "Ranvir Sena chief held". The Hindu. 2002-12-25. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  24. "National / New Delhi : Ranvir Sena chief released". The Hindu. 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  25. "Tillers' outfit". The Telegraph (Calcutta). 5 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  26. "Ranvir Sena founder Brahmeshwar Singh shot dead in Bihar". The Times of India. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
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