18 years on: Tantrik gets 7 years rigorous imprisonment for dalit farmer’s death
Justice was delayed but not denied. Ayodhya’s Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes special court on Tuesday awarded seven years jail term to a tantrik, Shankar Dutt alias Khuti Pandey, 50, who caused the death of an ailing Dalit man by practising his ‘supernatural powers’ on the pretext of medical treatment over 18 years ago.
The officials said Pandey was convicted after examining several witnesses and sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment under IPC section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder). They said the convict was also slapped with a penalty of ₹5,000 and extra three months of jail term if he failed to deposit the amount.
The officials said he was however acquitted from the charges of atrocities against a member of a scheduled caste.
Sharing further details, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Ayodhya, Ashish Tewari on Wednesday said Shankar Dutt had branded the victim Junglee Kori, 40, with hot iron rod on the pretext of treating his high fever through ‘supernatural powers’. He said Pandey branded Kori with hot iron rod multiple times on his legs and thighs after which his condition deteriorated and died after few hours. He said the accused even charged ₹1500 from the victim’s family on pretext of treating him.
He said the FIR was registered by the victim’s maternal uncle Bhagwant with Inayatnagar police station of Ayodhya district, earlier known as Faizabad, on July 26, 2001 but the trial in the court was pending for several years. He said the case was taken on priority basis to ensure justice to the victim’s family and was been followed on regular basis since August this year.
“On the basis of evidence and statements of two key witnesses, Bhagwant and the victim’s sister Sukna, prosecution was able to prove cogently and firmly all links leading to unerring conclusion that the tantrik practised stigmatisation leading to the victim’s death,” said sub-inspector (SI), Vinod Yadav, in-charge of the district level case monitoring cell.
He said the tantrik along with his two accomplices Dinesh Kishore alias Dinesh Kumar Srivastava and Sadhu Pandey alias Parmeshwardeen were charge sheeted in the case. He said Dinesh Kishore and Sadhu Pandey died during the court trial.
Talking about the victim’s family, his nephew Asha Ram said the untimely death of Junglee have left his wife Maya Devi and five daughters in acute financial crisis and the family still was unable to come out of it. He said Maya Devi somehow managed to get her four daughters married by earning some money by working as a farm labourer and doing farming on one bigha of land with the family.
He said Maya Devi, 56, was suffering from multiple health problems with one daughter still unmarried. He informed her about the jail term awarded to tantrik but the development would not bring any change in their lives, he said.