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Central Bihar and land lord sena

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 17, 2007

Private armies are an exclusive phenomenon of Bihar. It is often said that where social-democracy ends, revolutionary-democracy begins its journey. This most backward Indian State has proved to be a forward post of revolutionary democracy, with the lowest rung of the society being drawn into the vortex of peasant struggles. From blood-thirsty landlord-armies to trigger-happy paramilitary forces, protagonists of ?total revolution? to ?His Majesty?s Opposition?none could enforce the ?peace of the graveyard? on the flaming fields of Bihar and it seems none would be able to drive these unconventional actors to the backstage of historical action.

Emergence of the Senas

There are different opinions about the emergence of Senas in Bihar, which are as follows:

? Some consider that the Senas came into existence in response to the Naxalite terrorism.

? Some attribute the rise of Senas as, fallout of the green revolution. According to them the greater productivity could not remove the basic inequalities that existed between the landlords and the landless. The demand of fair distribution by the peasants led to the formation of Senas to suppress the landless labourers.

? Some others advocates that the adoption of the overt political participation i.e. a tactical shift by CPI(ML)-Liberation in 1989, left the field open for the emergence of various Senas in Bhojpur district of Bihar. The Liberation was operating underground from early 1970 to 1988. The Kisan Sangh, the Kisan Morcha and the Ganga Sena were smaller in size and operated in small areas. The Ranvir Sena became the most dreaded of all.


The Dalits and the poor peasants could no longer accept the existing oppressive feudal social system. The radical peasant organisations mobilised the aggrieved parties to fight for their dignity, freedom, proper wages and redistribution of land. The intolerance of the upper castes led to the formation of various Senas one after the other to resist the revolt of the poor.

Sena usually means an ?army?. However, in the semi-feudal social structure of Bihar, Sena refers to Caste-based private gangs. These are non-party socio-political formations, which are considered to be reactionary and counter-revolutionary by nature in the struggle waged by peasants. This phenomenon thrives on a strong nexus between the landlords, politicians, administration, criminals and contractors.

These Senas came into existence during the early 1980s. However, the historical records reveal that Senas have existed in the past too. The Rajputs were the first to form the Kuer Sena as early as 1979 in Bhojpur district of Bihar. The Bhumihars have formed about eight Senas in central Bihar. Except the Ranvir Sena, all other Senas stands eliminated in prolonged struggle waged by the radical peasant organisations.

Now there are two types of Private Armies in Bihar. First and the most common are the armies of the landlords. The landlords employ the musclemen to keep the peasants and the tenants in their place, and to ensure that taxes and rents are paid regularly. Second is the dominant caste Senas or private caste militias or armies, which have become a part of the agrarian struggles of Central Bihar. They are constituted mainly to repress and suppress the militant peasant organisations.

Profile of Major Senas in Bihar

Sunlight Sena

This was formed by the Muslim Pathan landlords of Garwah, Palamu and Gaya in alliance with the Rajput landlords of Palamu. It is still operative in the above mentioned areas. The armed squads of the MCC, Party Unity, and the Liberation have waged a relentless war against this Sena.

Bhoomi Sena

The rich Kurmis had formed the Kisan Suraksha Samiti in early 1980 and later converted it into the Bhoomi Sena. Some Kurmi landlords, bad gentry and professional criminals had taken initiative to form an armed gang. They accumulated a huge quantity of arms, recruited some Kurmi youths and launched a professional armed gang, named the Bhoomi Sena.

However, the Bhoomi Sena was dealt a heavy blow by CPI(ML) armed squads. Many of their leaders were executed. Their efforts to expand their activities to other parts of Patna and Gaya did not succeed either. In Jehanabd, they were given a serious blow by the armed squads of CPI(ML) (Party Unity). For all practical purposes, they are now confined to 7 to 8 villages of Poonpoon and Masaurhi blocks of Patna district, where, too, they are now in a process of retreat. Their disintegration has been hastened all the more by their internal bickerings. Their social base among the Kurmies has also become considerably weak.

Lorik Sena

This was formed by the upper backward caste Yadavas in 1983. The Lorik Sena appeared initially in Hilsa-Ekangarsarai blocks of Nalanda district. But soon it spread its activities to other parts of the district as well as to some villages of Ghosi block in Gaya and Dhanarua block in Patna. Ramashraya Singh is the brain behind this Sena.

Armed with guns and rifles, the Lorik Sena began its operations in the true traditions of Sena culture in Bihar. The Lorik Sena is named after one of the legendary heroes of the Yadava community who had fought against a tyrant Yadava landlord of his time along with the Dalit masses.

This gang in their killing and extortion spree did not spare Yadava either. Roving with guns and rifles, they would extort money from the Yadava peasants, and would even threaten them with dire consequences in case they refused to join the gang.

Thus, it did not take the Yadavas too long to realise that the Lorik Sena was more a liability than an asset. The Lorik Sena has got largly disintegrated in the areas where it has originally emerged, however, in many other parts of the central districts of Bihar, powerful Yadava gangs are nowadays sporting the Lorik Sena badge.

Ranvir Sena

Ranveer Sena is a private army of upper caste landlords mainly Bhumihars and Rajputs, which came into existence in August 1994 in Belaur, a village of 1,200 population, with the full backing of the middle caste and local level district administration. The main objective of the Sena has been to teach the Dalits a lesson and wipe out Naxalism. The forerunners of Ranveer Sena in Bhojpur were Brahmarshi Sena and Kuer Sena, which could not sustain for long. The formation of Ranveer Sena is indication of class polarisation from above. This is not solely an individual caste?s Sena as happened to be the case with other private Senas. The class aspect is fairly pronounced in Ranveer Sena?s support base and functioning. Bhumihar and Rajput caste people have never seen eye to eye and have a history of being mutual foes throughout Bihar. They first time joined hands to form Ranveer Sena. Further, it is the class interest, which goaded the ruling stratum of the middle castes to extend support to the Sena.

Brhameshwar Singh, on whose head there is a Rs. 5-lakh reward, is the supreme commander of the Ranvir Sena, which has a more than 400-member killer squad. The landlords finance the Sena through ?generous? subscriptions. Each member of the Sena squad is said to be drawing between Rs. 1,100 and Rs. 1,200 per month for work that involves shooting Dalit men, women and children.

Two years after its formation, the Ranvir sena in August 1996 slaughtered 10 Dalits at Tiskhora Village to mark its appearance in the flaming fields of central Bihar and subsequently drove all the Dalits from Belaur village.

The change of policy of the Liberation ? which had earlier proved catastrophic for the atrocious landlords in Bhojpur District in 1970s and `80s ? helped the Ranvir Sena to swell its ranks and expand further.


3 Responses to “Central Bihar and land lord sena”

  1. […] (2007): ‘Central Bihar and land lord sena’, Indian Vanguard, September 17. Available from: on 23 February, […]

  2. […] (2007): ‘Central Bihar and land lord sena’, Indian Vanguard, September 17. Available from: on 23 February, […]

  3. […] (2007): ‘Central Bihar and land lord sena’, Indian Vanguard, September 17. Available from: on 23 February, […]

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