All 97 acquitted of murdering Dalits | delhi | Hindustan Times
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All 97 acquitted of murdering Dalits

Of the 97 people accused of burning to death a Dalit man and his physically challenged daughter, 82 of them were acquitted by a Delhi court on Saturday. Fifteen of them were convicted, but none have been found guilty of murder. Sumit Saxena reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 25, 2011 01:39 IST
Sumit Saxena

Of the 97 people accused of burning to death a Dalit man and his physically challenged daughter, 82 of them were acquitted by a Delhi court on Saturday. Fifteen of them were convicted, but none have been found guilty of murder.

Tara Chand and his daughter were burnt alive in Haryana’s Mirchpur village, just a 3-hour drive from the Capital, on April 21, 2010, following a dispute between the Jat and Dalit communities of the village.

The court blamed the police for shoddy investigation and for giving in to political pressure.

Additional sessions judge Kamini Lau acquitted the 82 as the prosecution could not get witnesses to prove they were part of the mob that set ablaze Chand’s house.

The chargesheet says the accused attacked Dalits after a dog belonging to one of them had barked at a group of Jats.

Of the 15 convicted, only Kulwinder, Ramphal and Rajinder were convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, with a maximum 10-year jail term.

Of the 15 convicted, main accused Kulwinder, Ramphal and Rajinder were convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, with a maximum 10-year jail term. The other 12 accused have been charged with rioting and arson, punishable with seven years in prison.

Slamming the Haryana Police for the shoddy probe that resulted in acquittal of large number of accused, the judge said, “The manner in which the whole thing was handled was improper…witnesses made bizarre and inconsistent statements”.

Referring to the fact that police had begun making arrests only after four months of the incident and that too after the pressure from the Supreme Court, the judge said: “The possibility of false implication of many accused cannot be ruled out on account of political pressure only to work out the present case”.

The Supreme Court had transferred the case to Delhi on December 9, 2010 on plea of victims that a fair trial was not possible in Haryana.