Nashik court convicts 6 in Sonai honour killings case
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Nashik court convicts 6 in Sonai honour killings case

The three Dalit men were killed because one of them was in love with an upper caste girl.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2018 22:27 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Honour killing,Nashik court,Murder conviction
In an extreme act of brutality, the killers beheaded one of the victims and severed his arms before dumping his body in a septic tank.(HT PHOTO)

A sessions court in Nashik on Monday convicted six men accused in the 2013 Sonai honour killing case which had triggered outrage among Dalits. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 18.

Six of the seven accused were convicted on various counts including murder and criminal conspiracy for killing three dalit youths on January 1, 2013 in Sonai village of neighbouring Ahmednagar district. The killings, according to First Information Report, were a fallout of inter-caste love affair between one of the deceased and a Maratha girl.

The accused included the father Popat Darandale, elder brother Ganesh Darandale, and other relatives of the girl.

The judge convicted Popat, Ganesh, Prakash Darandale, Ramesh Darandale, Ashok Nawagire and Sandip Kurhe and acquitted Ashok Phalke, against whom the prosecution could not establish the charge of conspiracy.

Police recovered bodies of the three youths, Sandeep Raju Thanwar (26), Sachin Sohanlal Gharu (22) and Rahul Kandare (20) – all from Mehter community, in pieces from a septic tank and a neighbouring dry well.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said Gharu was in relationship with a girl belonging to an upper caste family. Gharu along with Thanwar and Kandare were working in Trimurti educational institute at Sonai where the girl was studying.

According to the FIR, Gharu and his colleagues, working as sweepers, were called by Darandale family at their home on January 1 evening to clean their septic tank. The next day, Gharu was found beheaded and hand chopped from the shoulders. The bodies of the other two, Sandeep Thanwar and Rahul Kandare were found a day later nearby with injury marks on their heads.

The family of the girl, which was opposed to inter-caste affair, hatched a conspiracy and killed the three Dalits, Nikam said.

“Today’s judgment by the court is very important. The prosecution argued the case based on circumstantial evidence as there was no eye-witness available. Yet, we managed to link the chain of events,” Nikam said. A total of 54 witnesses were examined in the case.

Monday’s judgement comes days after a local court in Ahmednagar acquitted all nine suspects charged with murdering 17-year-old youth Nitin Aage. Like Sonai, the Aage murder was also a fallout of inter-caste love affair.

Earlier in November 2017, another court in Ahmednagar convicted three persons involved in rape and murder of minor Maratha girl. The three were later sentenced to death by the court.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 13:24 IST