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Mirchpur Dalit killings: Delhi high court convicts 33, sentences 12 to life terms

The Delhi high court also enhanced the punishment of the nine convicts to life term. The house of Tara Chand was set on fire resulting in burning alive of the father and daughter on April 21, 2010 after a dispute between the Jat and Dalit communities.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2018 16:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times,
Mirchpur Dalit killings,Delhi high court,Dalits killed in Haryana
The Delhi high court in New Delhi.(File Photo)

The Delhi High Court on Friday overturned the acquittal of 20 people accused in a case of burning alive a 70-year-old Dalit man and his physically-challenged daughter at Mirchpur village in Haryana’s Hisar district in 2010 while upholding the conviction of 13 others.

The court also enhanced the punishment of the nine convicts, taking to 12 the number of convicts who have sentenced to life imprisonment.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta said 71 years after Independence, instances of “atrocities” against Scheduled Castes by those belonging to dominant castes have shown “no sign of abating”.

“The incidents that took place in Mirchpur between April 19 and 21, 2010 serve as yet another grim reminder of ‘the complete absence of two things in Indian society’ as noted by Dr B R Ambedkar when he tabled the final draft of the Constitution of India before the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949. One was ‘equality’ and the other ‘fraternity’,” the bench said in its 209-page verdict, reported PTI.

The court held that there was deliberate targeting of houses of members of Balmiki community by members of the Jat community and common object in the case was to “teach members of the Balmiki community a lesson and this has been fully achieved by the accused persons.”

It said the fine amounts collected from the convicts shall be utilised by the Haryana Government as part of the provision of monetary relief and rehabilitation to the victims.

The verdict came on the appeal of 13 persons challenging their conviction and sentence by a trial court in the case.

The victims and the police had also appealed in the high court seeking enhancement of punishment awarded to the convicts and acquittal of others.

The house of Tara Chand was set on fire resulting in burning alive of the father and daughter on April 21, 2010 after a dispute between the Jat and Dalit communities of the village.

The top court had transferred the case from Hisar to Delhi to ensure a fair trial.

The trial court had on September 24, 2011, convicted 15 of 97 men belonging to the Jat community. Two convicted died during pendency of appeals. In October 2012, the 98th accused, who was earlier absconding, was tried and acquitted by the trial court.

On October 31, 2011, the trial court had sentenced Kulwinder, Dharambir and Ramphal to life imprisonment for committing unintentional killing under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code.

Five others -- Baljeet, Karamveer, Karampal, Dharambir and Bobal -- were handed down jail term of five years for their offences including rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, mischief and putting ablaze victims’ houses and provisions of SC/ST (POA) Act.

Seven others, convicted under milder penal provisions, were released on probation.

Here’s a timeline of the case:

*April 21, 2010: A 70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physically-challenged daughter burnt alive allegedly by a mob of over 100 people belonging to the Jat community at Mirchpur village of Hisar district.

Over 150 Dalit families flee the village and take shelter at a Temple in Delhi after their houses were torched.

* August: Haryana police arrest the accused after the Supreme Court pulls it up.

* December 8: SC transfers the case from Hisar to Delhi to ensure fair trial on the plea of families of victims.

* December 23: Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau starts hearing and asks Haryana government to appoint special public prosecutor to conduct the trial.

* January 9, 2011: Court orders transfer of the accused to Tihar from a Hisar jail. A total of 98 accused shifted. Out of 103, five are juveniles and one is out on bail.

* January 15: Jat community, to which accused belong, protests the transfer of case, seeks fresh probe.

* January 20: CBI asked to take over the probe.

* February1: Court orders deployment of CRPF at Mirchpur village to protect prosecution witnesses.

* March 10: Trial court passes order on charge against 97 persons.

* September 24: Trial court convicts 15, acquits 82 persons.

* October 31: Three convicts get life term, five awarded five year jail and remaining seven released on probation.

* 2012: Convicts, victims and state move Delhi HC against their conviction and sentencing.

* Oct 6: One accused who was earlier absconding, acquitted of all charges by trial court.

* May 16, 2018: HC reserves verdict on the appeals.

* Aug 24: HC upholds conviction and sentence of 13 convicts, reverses acquittal of 20 and convicts them.

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 14:44 IST