[An excerpt from the chapter 'The Pattern of Abuse: Rural Violence in Bihar and the State's Response' from the report 'Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's Untouchables' published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 1999.]
The extent of political patronage extended to the Ranvir Sena can be gauged by the fact that while a large number of Naxalites are killed in "encounters" [with police] not a single Ranvir Sena man has been subjected to this fate. The administration awakes a little later when it comes to tackl[ing] these armies. The outfit [Ranvir Sena] had declared a few days before the Jehanabad [Bathe] carnage that it would soon make a national and international headline.
— The Pioneer, December 12, 1997.106
In the districts of central Bihar, over 300 people were killed between 1995 and October 1997 in large-scale massacres committed by the Ranvir Sena. Three massacres since October 1997 have increased number of deaths to over 400. Human rights activists add that many have also been killed in smaller confrontations. Extrajudicial executions of Naxalites, coupled with evidence of police collusion with the Ranvir Sena, as documented below, have led to charges that the sena is being backed by the state administration and non-left political parties to check the growing Naxalite movement. Soon after a January 1999 sena massacre in Shankarbigha village, Jehanabad district, a senior police official was quoted as saying, "The administration would be happy if they kill the real extremists among the Naxalites, but they are killing soft targets like women and children and attacking villages of Dalits and weaker sections, which are unprotected."
Like other senas before it, the Ranvir Sena enjoys considerable political patronage. The sena is said to be dominated by politicians from various parties, including Congress, the Janata Dal, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which in 1998 led India's coalition central government. In turn, the BJP has enjoyed Bhumihar support in local elections, as described below. Notorious Ranvir Senaleader Bharmeshwar Singh is also a known BJP activist. While Bihar's former Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, a member of a powerful backward caste, has accused the BJP of backing the sena, he himself has been blamed for only going after Naxalites, despite vows to disarm caste armies. Moreover, state agents at the village and district level are dominated by upper-caste members who often operate as "functionaries of mainstream political parties [and] are either active with or sympathize with the Ranbir Sena."