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Thirty-eight years after the Behmai massacre shook the country, the judgment in the case is expected to be delivered on January 6.

On February 14, 1981, then bandit queen Phoolan Devi had gunned down as many as 20 Thakurs of the Behmai village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat area to avenge her rape by two other bandits Lala Ram and Sri Ram, both Thakurs.

Phoolan, with the help of four dacoit gangs led by Ram Avtar, Mustaqeem, Ramkesh, and Lallu had raided the Behmai village on the Yamuna banks and lined up 20 Thakurs and shot them dead.

The then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Vishwanath Pratap Singh had resigned owning moral responsibility for the massacre.

Phoolan later surrendered before the Madhya Pradesh police and was behind bars in Gwalior and Jabalpur. Phoolan fought a legal battle with the Uttar Police in the case and challenged orders passed by the Kanpur Dehat court. She never appeared before the trial court in Kanpur.

Phoolan was later elected as Member of Parliament on a Samajwadi Party ticket in 1996, and then 1999 from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh and was shot by one Sher Singh Rana in 2001 in Delhi.

According to district government counsel, Raju Porwal, as many as 12 dacoits, including Phoolan Devi have died during the trial and cases against them lapsed.

Charges against remaining accused were framed in 2012, 31 years after the shootout.

He said that the trial against the four accused, Bheekha, Posa, Shyam Babu, and Vishwanath Putani has concluded and a specially constituted court of Kanpur Dehat (Ramabai Bagar) is likely to deliver its verdict on January 6.

He said three dacoits — Man Singh, Vishwanath, and Ram Kesh — were on the run and a permanent non-bailable warrant had been issued against Ram Kesh and his property confiscated.

The prosecution produced as many as 15 witnesses and seven of them were material witnesses. The process of prosecution producing evidence was closed in 2014.

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