Caught on the wrong foot, the Democratic Front government on Monday chose to take stern action against officials who were accused of dereliction of duty in the Khairlanji case in which four members of a Dalit family were killed by fellow villagers.
Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil announced in the State Assembly that all the six officials including Deputy Superintendent of Police Vinayak Susadkar would be dismissed from service due to acts of omission and error in handling the Khairlanji probe.
Speaking at the end of the first day winter session at Nagpur that focused totally on the issue of Dalit murders. "The role of three other government officials including two doctors and the police prosecutor accused of fudging up the forensic and post-mortem reports will also be dismissed if found guilty in the probe".
The opposition including senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde made accusations that the police and the state had tried to suppress the Khairlanji incident.
"The police should have applied the atrocity act right in the beginning. The police not only should have taken cognizance of the incident they also fudged the medical reports," said Munde.
Khairlanji, a village in Bhandara, located at some 1,000 kms east of Mumbai, became name of the controversy when four members of Bhotmange family were allegedly tortured and killed by a group of villagers following a land dispute. The incident led to statewide protests, with Dalit activists reacting violently.
Patil further announced that the state would set up a Scheduled caste/Scheduled Tribe commission in the next 15 days to prepare a report on Dalits in the state. "The committee will also look into Dalit atrocities and grievances and work for the betterment of this community".
This commission will prepare a report every five years. He further added that this recommendation made to the state in 1975 was never implemented.
The state has also decided to ensure that guardian ministers of every district take – monthly vigilance and peace meetings in their districts to provide a platform for Dalits to vent their grievances.
Another committee would be formed under a retired High Court judge to see to it that the Atrocities Act that deals with complaints against Dalits will be implemented effectively.