The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a chargesheet before the court of additional district session judge of Bhandara on December 26 in Khairlangi massacre, in which four members of a Dalit family were brutally killed by upper-caste Hindus in September, 2006.
The state government had handed over the inquiry to the CBI from the state CID in November when several Dalit organisations, particularly different RPI factions and Bhaiyyalal Bhotmage, the lone survivor, insisted for it.
The CBI team, headed by its joint director Vivek Dube, is camping in Bhandara for the last one month to investigate the gruesome incident. The chargesheet is ready and it will file before the court on Tuesday.
Four members of Bhotmange family - Surekha, her daughter, Priyanka, sons Rahul and Sudhir - were mercilessly butchered by a group of villagers at Khairlangi, some 100 kms from in Nagpur in Bhandara district, on September 29. Only Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, husband of Surekha and head of the family, survived in the mob attack.
It all began with a small incident that occurred on September 3 this year. The villagers of Khairlangi beat up one Siddharth Gajbhiye, a distant relative of Bhotmange, who lives in nearby village, Dhusala, and a frequent visitor to the Bhotmange family. They suspected that he had illicit relations with Surekha, wife of Bhaiyyalal. Gajbhiye somehow managed to escape and reached Kamptee near Nagpur where he got himself admitted to a hospital. He also filed a complaint with the Kamptee police station, which was later, transferred to Andhalgaon police station. The complaint was registered and an FIR was lodged against the villagers.
As Gajbhiye did not know names of the villagers, the Bhotmange family members—particularly his wife, Surekha and daughter Priyanka told the facts to police during the investigation; and named the villagers who beat up Gajbhiye. As many as 12 villagers were arrested in this connection. As only a case of assault was registered, they got out on bail on September 29 itself. That evening, they went looking for Gajbhiye. As he was away, they turned their anger on the Bhotmange family. They went straight to Bhotmange’s house and brutally killed four members of the family.
It was alleged that Khairlangi tragedy could have been averted had the administration and the police been sensitive and taken timely action. The incident sparked violent protests in various parts of the state and the government finally handed over the probe to the CBI.
Talking to Hindustan Times, a CBI official, who preferred anonymity for obvious reasons, said that there were lapses in the initial investigation of the state police. As many as 47 villagers, including four women, were arrested in this connection. However, several of them, found innocent, the official added.
The state government had taken action against as many as eight senior officials, including the civil surgeon of the district and a Dy SP. Moreover, the state government provided a monetary compensation of Rs 12.5 lakh and a job to the victim, Bhaiyyalal.