Six get death sentence in Khairlanji massacre

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{image-Khairlanji massacre case_24092008.jpg}Nagpur, Sep 24: The Bhandara Sessions Court on Wednesday, Sep 24 awarded death sentence to six accused and life imprisonment to two others in the Khairlanji massacre case.

On Sep 15, a fast track sessions court in Bhandara had convicted eight people of murder and acquitted three out of the 11 accused in the case. On Sep 29, 2006, following a land dispute a group of villagers killed four members of the Dalit Bhaiyalal Bhotmange's family, including his wife Surekha, daughter Priyanka and two sons Dilip and Roshan in Khairlanji village in Bhandara District of Maharashtra. Their mutilated bodies were dumped in a nearby canal. Initially, the case was treated as a village feud, but later it was taken up as a case of atrocity against Dalits.

The state criminal investigation department to the CBI was investigating the case after it was transferred from the local police following widespread protests across the country. The CBI filed a charge-sheet against 11 of 46 accused on December 27, though Bhaiyyalal testified that nearly 50 villagers were involved. The accused were arrested on October 1.

The trial began in May 2007 and lasted over a year during which 36 witnesses were examined including four eyewitnesses, of whom one turned hostile. The State Government had suspended four police officers and three medical officers for dereliction of duty. Bhaiyyalal was offered Rs 12 lakh as compensation, a house and employment by the Government later.


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