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More twist to Khairlangi tragedy

india Updated: Jan 20, 2007 19:04 IST
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A high-voltage drama was witnessed over Khairlangi episode at Bhandara on Saturday when the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, Nana Panchbudhe staged a dharna, alongwith his supporters, on Mumbai-Kolkata National Highway and blockaded the road traffic for over two hours in protest against the complaint lodged by Rajendra Gajbhiye, the key witness of the Khairlangi dalit massacre, against him, on Friday.

Rajendra, one of the key witnesses of Kahirlangi Dalit killings, alleged that Panchbudhe had threatened him and hurled casteist abuses during a programme at Dushala on January 15.

He later lodged a complaint with the Andhalgaon police station against the NCP legislator. The local police filed a case against Panchbudhe under the section of 310 of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1979.

However, Panchbudhe denied that he had hurled any casteist abuses at Rajendra during the programme. "During my Dushala visit on January 15, villagers had submitted a memorandum against Siddharth Gajbhiye, the elder brother of Rajendra, about irregularities in his PDS outlet, particularly in distribution of kerosene.

"I referred the memorandum to the tehsildar of Mohadi in Bhandara district for an inquiry," he said and suspected that it might have led him to retaliate by lodging a false complaint.

Panchbudhe met the district collector, Indomala Jain and superintendent of police (SP), Suresh Sagar on Saturday and urged them to inquire the matter personally.

"I should be punished if I have hurled any casteist abuses at Rajendra. Otherwise, he (Rajendra) should be booked for lodging a false complaint and misleading the people," he insisted. He also submitted a memorandum in this regard to the district collector.

Earlier, the district administration had suspended Siddharth Gajbhiye from his post of a Police Patil of Dushala village for alleged involvement in an assault case.

The Gajbhiyes, related to Bhotmanges, who were brutally killed by the upper caste Hindus at Khairlangi on September 29, were first to report the gruesome killings to the police.

Moreover, Siddharth had exposed the entire district administration, along with Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, the lone survivour of Bhotmange family, for its casual approach on the heinous crime.

Four members of Bhotmange family, including two women, were butchered by a group of villagers over a land dispute in September last.

Both, the Gajbhiye brothers, at a press conference in Mumbai early this month, had also apprehended threat to their lives and demanded adequate securities.

Email Pradip Kumar Maitra: pradipmaitra @hindustantimes.com

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