Bhandara SDPO suspended, police foil 'peace march'

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Nagpur, Nov 12 (UNI) The Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Bhandara Vinayak Harikisan Susatkar has been suspended with immediate effect for negligence and carelessness in the Khairlanji case.

Special Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nagpur Range Ashok Dhiware said Susatkar had been suspended for his failure to deal seriously with the complaint of assault by Siddharth Gajbhiye, which was made much before the massacre. Susatkar did not invoke the provisions of the Atrocity Act after receiving the complaint and also did not guide his superiors properly in the investigations, Dhiware said.

Gajbhiye was assaulted by a group of villagers just outside Khairlanji nearly three weeks before the killing of four members of the Bhotmange family. Gajbhiye, a relative of the Bhotmange's, incurred the wrath of the villagers as he had tried to resolve the land dispute that involved the family.

Activists have alleged that the massacre in Khairlanji could have been averted if the action had been initiated under the Atrocity Act against the persons who assaulted Gajbhiye.

Meanwhile, the police today foiled an attempt by activists to stage a 'peace march' from Nagpur to Khairlanji in Bhandara district of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra to protest the killings in the village.

The police detained 81 persons, including 43 men and 38 women, at the statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in RBI square here this morning after they violated the prohibitory orders clamped in the city, Joint Commissioner of Police S. M. Syed said. The activists had been denied permission for a 'long march' from Nagpur to Khairlanji.

Syed said the police detained 214 persons since last night in the city as a preventive measure. The police also arrested three organisers of the 'long march,' he said.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made with four companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) being deployed in addition to 800 men and officers of the city police to maintain law and order in the city, and a close watch was kept at all entry points, Syed said.

No untoward incident was reported from any part of the city, he said.

Meanwhile, organisers claimed here late this evening that activsts did take out a 'peace march' after they assembled in small groups just outside the city limits. The 'peace march' had reached the town of Kanhan, about 25 kilometres from here, the organisers also claimed.


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