Khairlanji: P C Member joins Meira in objecting to court ruling

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New Delhi, Sep 24 (UNI) Planning Commission Member Bhalchandra Mungekar today joined Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar in demanding a judicial review against a Mumbai court ruling that has refused to accept the infamous Khairlanji massacre as caste violence.

Mr Mungekar was reacting to the court today sentencing six persons to death and two others to life imprisonment for the gruesome killing of four members of a Dalit family in Khairlanji village of Bhandara district in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region in September, 2006.

The court, however, rejected the charges under various sections of the Atrocities Act.

The Planning Commission Member in a statement here said he had visited the village on November 11 in 2006 and collected information about the incident after which he had submitted a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

''In view of the lack of faith of the enire dalit communiy in the Maharashtra Police machinery in handling of the Khairlanji incident, I had requested the Prime Minister to handover the matter to the CBI,'' he said.

While welcoming the capital punishment to the accused, Mr Mungekar found it disappointing that the court had held that the incident did not fall into the category of atrocity.

''From the account of the incident that Bhaiyyalalji Bhotmange had given to me, I was convinced that it was a clear example of atrocity arising out of his better economic condition despite being a Dalit,'' said Mr Mungekar.

He appealed to the Maharashtra government to move the Mumbai High Court against the order of the local court in refusing to consider the incident as atrocity on Dalits.

The Social Jusice and Empowerment Minister is also reported to have written letters to Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, DoPT Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister Shivraj Patil demanding a judicial review.

She has said that the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act would have no meaning, if such incidents were treated as mere criminal acts, with no casteist motivation.

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