Weeks after the state government felicitated Khairlanji village, which attained infamy after four members of a Dalit family were beaten to death, the home minister on Wednesday said the state will ensure “controversial” villages are not given such awards.
Khairlanji was awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh under the Tanta-Mukta Abhiyaan [dispute-free village campaign] in April. On Tuesday, however, Nationalist Congress Party legislator, Ram Pandagle, brought this up and questioned the state’s decision to reward the village despite the “shameful” incident. Hindustan Times had reported this on Wednesday.
Home Minister, R.R. Patil, responded saying, “We will amend the selection procedure so that villages where riots and controversial incidents have occurred are screened while deciding this award.” Patil, however, didn’t comment on whether the prize awarded to Khairlanji will be taken back.
Patil had launched the Tanta-Mukta Abhiyaan in 2007 to honour villages that found peaceful, out-of-court settlements for non-cognisable disputes.
Khairlanji made headlines when four members of the Bhotmange family, Surekha and her children Sudhir, Roshan and Priyanka, were killed by a mob over a property dispute in September 2006. Even local police officers were under the scanner for allegedly shielding the accused. The incident had led to a large scale protests from the Dalit community.