Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange ends hunger strike

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Nagpur, Oct 18 (UNI) Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, lone survivor of last year's killing of four members of his dalit family in Bhandara district of Maharashtra, ended his indefinite hunger strike today.

Mr Bhotmange consumed a glass of lemon juice after receiving an assurance from the government that the prosecution and defence in the case, being heard before a court in Bhandara at present, would be requested to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis.

The assurance was conveyed to Mr Bhotmange by officials in Bhandara this evening. Officials also gave Mr Bhotmange a copy of the state government's order withdrawing the cases against the agitators.

Congress MLA Nitin Raut, who had joined Mr Bhotmange yesterday to express solidarity, also ended his hunger strike.

Mr Raut has described the development as a 'victory' for justice and for Mr Bhotmange.

Mr Bhotmange had launched the hunger strike on Tuesday to demand the constitution of a special court to try the case and the withdrawal of offences against the persons who had participated in agitations across the state to protest the killings.

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. Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange had 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 now.


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