MLA Nitin Raut joins Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange on hunger strike

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Nagpur, Oct 17 (UNI) Nitin Raut, Maharashtra Congress MLA, today joined the indefinite hunger strike in Bhandara by Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, lone survivor of last year's killing of four members of his dalit family, to demand a special court to try the case.

''I joined Mr Bhotmange this afternoon to express my support to his demands,'' Mr Raut told UNI over telephone from Bhandara. Mr Bhotmange and several other supporters began the hunger strike, opposite the office of the District Collector there yesterday.

Besides the constitution of a special court, Mr Bhotmange is also demanding that all cases registered against persons, who participated in the protests after the incident, should be withdrawn 'unconditionally and honourably.' There had been widespread violence at several places in Vidarbha, including Nagpur, Yavatmal and Amravati, last year after the gruesome incident. Surekha Bhotmange (45), daughter Priyanka (18), and sons Roshan (23) and Sudhir (21) were lynched by a mob in village Khairlanji in Bhandara district on the night of September 29, 2006, over a land dispute. Bhotmange managed to escape and survived.

The police had arrested 47 persons after investigation into the incident. The probe was later handed over to the CBI, which filed a chargesheet against 11 persons, with the remaining 36 being released as no charges were brought against them.

The case is now being heard in the court of First Additional Sessions Judge S S Das in Bhandara.


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