The Khairlanji Action Committee and Rajendra Gajbhiye, one of the key witnesses of the Dalit massacre, have demanded immediate arrest of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, Nana Panchbudhe for hurling casteist abuses on Gajbhiye recently.
Milind Fulzhele and Gajbhiye, who were in Nagpur on Monday alleged that despite lodging a complaint against Panchbudhe, the police were not taking any action against the erring legislator. "The NCP legislator is using his clout to harass the Gajbhiyes for exposing the district administration on the issue and protecting Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, the lone survivour of the Dalit family," Fulzhele added.
However, Panchbudhe denied that he had hurled any casteist abuses at Rajendra. Instead, he insisted that Rajendra should be booked by the police for making a false complaint against him. Panchabudhe and his supporters even staged a dharna on Mumbai-Kolkata National Highway at Bhandara a couple of days ago and blockaded the road traffic for over two hours in protest against the complaint lodged by Rajendra; and an immediate arrest of Gajbhiye for lodging a 'false' complaint.
The action committee alleged that Panchbudhe was taking revenge against Gajbhiye because his relatives were involved in the massacre. H Dhande and his wife, who were arrested in connection with the Khairlanji killing, were the relatives of Panchbudhe.
He pointed out that Siddharth, elder brother of Rajendra and another key witness of the Dalit killing, was suspended from his post of a Police Patil of Dushala village recently by the Bhandara district administration by implicating him in a false case. "This has established that the district administration and peoples' representatives of the area were bias on Gajbhiye, for exposing them," the leader of the action committee alleged.
Siddharth and his younger brother Rajendra are the key witnesses in the massacre of four members of a Dalit family. The incident took place in a remote village called Khairlanji in Bhandara district, situated in the north-east of the state. On September 29, Surekha Bhotmange, her 17-year-old daughter Priyanka, and two sons, 19-year-old Roshan and 21-year-old Sudhir were at home when an upper-caste mob broke into their mud hut and murdered them.
The Gajbhiyes, related to Bhotmanges, were first to report the gruesome killings to police.