A fast Track Court started the first hearing of Khairlangi Dalit massacre at Bhandara, some 65 kms from Nagpur, on Monday. As many as 11 villagers of Khairlangi, who have been charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI), produced before the court of SS Das this morning for brutally killing four members a dalit family.
Four members of Bhotmanage family---Surekha, wife of Bhaiyyalal, the lone survivor of the family, his daughter, Priyanka, sons, Sudhir and Roshan --- were mercilessly killed by a group of villagers on September 29.
The killing had sparked widespread protests in parts of Maharashtra.
The state government had initially started a CID probe into the matter and arrested as many as 47 persons, including the Sarpanch and Upsarpanch of the village in this connection.
After a public outcry and widespread protests, the case was handed over to the CBI last month. Within a month of beginning a probe, the CBI filed a charge sheet against 11 people a couple of days ago.
The charge sheet includes murder, the outraging modesty of women, allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy, and unlawful assembly with deadly weapons, trespass and destruction of evidence as well as offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.
However, the CBI said in its 15-page charge sheet that no rape was committed against the two women, who were killed in mob violence.
Giving details of the incident, the central investigation agency said all these 11 people and others hatched a criminal conspiracy on the evening of September 29 at Khairlanji to murder Bhaiyalal Bhotmange and his family.
They then formed an "unlawful assembly" with deadly weapons and committed criminal trespass into Bhotmange's house in the village. Uttering casteist remarks, the accused murdered four members of Bhotmange's family, the CBI said.
It was alleged that Khairlangi tragedy could have been averted had the administration and the police been sensitive and taken timely steps.
Later, 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, the lone surviour of the Bhotmanage family.
Ejaj Khan pleaded on behalf of CBI while the court has fixed the next hearing on January 29 next.