The Behmai massacre case, in which 20 people were killed allegedly by bandit Phoolan Devi’s gang nearly four decades ago, will come up before a special court in Kanpur on February 12. The case was earlier postponed from January 24 to January 30 due to a strike by lawyers, District Government Counsel (Criminal), Kanpur Dehat, Raju Porwal said.

The case is still at the same stage as before in which the court had asked to place the original case diary before it, Porwal said, adding that the original case diary had gone missing on January 18 when the case was listed for pronouncement of the verdict by Special Judge (UP dacoity-affected area) Sudhir Kumar.

The judge had pulled up court officials for the absence of the case diary at the time of delivering the verdict and had asked him to place it before the court on January 24. The date was postponed to January 30 due to a strike called by lawyers.

But in view of the strike over the issue of chambers continuing, the matter has now been further postponed to February 12, Porwal said. The court has to give its verdict on the role of the four surviving accused Posha, Bhikha, Vishwanath and Shyambabu. While Posha is still in jail, the rest are out on bail. Three other dacoits, including Man Singh, are absconding.

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.

She was gunned down outside her official residence in New Delhi on July 25, 2001, but was made immortal on the big screen by noted film director Shekhar Kapoor in his movie “Bandit Queen”.