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Court finds 8 guilty of Khairlanji killings

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Sep 15, 2008 at 04:05pm IST

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New Delhi: A Bhandara fastrack court has found eight of the accused in the Khairlanji case guilty as charged.

Three of the accused, however, have been declared innocent of all crime and acquitted by the court.

Delivering the judgement at a packed sessions court here, the first ad-hoc sessions Judge S S Dass held Gopal Sakru Binjewar, Sakru Mahagu Binjewar, Shatrughan Issam Dhande, Vishwanath Hagru Dhande, Ramu Mangru Dhande, Jagdish Ratan Mandlekar, Prabhakar Jaswant Mandlekar and Shishupal Dhande guilty.

JUSTICE AT LAST: The case was taken up as one of atrocity against Dalits.

He acquitted Mahipal Antu Dhande, Dharampal Vishwanath Dhande and Purushottam Bisan Titarmare.

The court also observed that the killings were not caste violence.

The quantum of sentence for the guilty will be announced on September 20.

In September 2006, a mob of about 50 villagers attacked his house and lynched four members of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange's family including his wife Surekha, daughter Priyanka and two sons Dilip and Roshan. Bhotmange is a Dalit farmer in Maharashtra's Khairlanji village.

The immediate provocation for the savage mob attack was said to be the evidence given by Surekha and Priyanka against 15 of the villagers in a case of their kin Siddharth Gajbhiye being beaten up.

Initially the case was treated as a village feud, but later it was taken up as a case of atrocity against Dalits.

The case was transferred from the local police to the state criminal investigation department to the CBI, but though Bhaiyyalal testified that nearly 50 villagers were involved, the CBI has so far chargesheeted only 11.

KHAIRLANJI'S SHAME

  • September 29, 2006: Four members of the Dalit Bhaiyalal Bhotmange's family in Khairlanji village of Maharashtra's Bhandara district were killed by fellow villagers in a land dispute. Their mutilated bodies were dumped in a nearby canal.
  • The accused were arrested on October 1, 2006.
  • The state handed over the case to CBI after widespread protests in across the country.
  • The government had suspended four police officers and three medical officers for dereliction of duty.
  • The CBI filed a chargesheet against 11 of 46 accused on Dec 27, 2006.
  • The trial court framed charges on March 2, 2007.
  • The trial began in May 2007 and lasted over a year during which 36 witnesses were examined.
  • Two eyewitnesses Suresh Khandate and Mukesh Pusam stuck to their statements while witnesses Mahadev Zanzad and Dinesh Dhande turned hostile.
  • The government later offered Bhaiyyalal Rs 12 lakh as compensation, a house and employment.

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