Patna: Maoist guerrillas, accused of massacring 16 people including five children in Bihar`s Khagaria district on Thursday night, have denied their involvement in the killings.
The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist claimed it "has nothing to do with the incident".
"The Maoists have no hand in the massacre of the people in Khagaria," local Hindi newspapers quoted Maoist leader Sanesh, who is secretary of the north Bihar zonal committee of CPI-Maoist, as saying.
He said the name of CPI-Maoist was taken to defame the outfit. "We have sympathy with those killed and their families. The CPI-Maoist would punish those behind the massacre by the end of this year," Sanesh added.
However, the Bihar Police suspect the involvement of Maoist guerrillas in the massacre.
The police on Saturday said they have arrested 11 people, including the mastermind, in Khagaria district, about 200 km north of Patna.
Police have said Thursday night`s massacre appeared to be due to a dispute over ownership of land. It took place in Amausi village in Khagaria district. All the victims belonged to the Kurmi caste and were from Amba Ichwara village, a few kilometres from the incident site. The attackers had tied their hands and feet before shooting them dead.
The victims were from the Kurmi caste and the Maoist guerrillas were from the Sada (Mushahar) -- a Mahadalit caste that is considered the poorest of poor in Bihar.
Additional Director General of Police (headquarters) Neelmani said over a dozen people were arrested, including mastermind OP Mahto. She said: "Mahto has revealed that the massacre was planned at the residence of Amousi mukhiya (village head) on September 14. Those who attended the meeting had resolved to take possession of the disputed land at any cost."