Nagpur: The Khairlanji Action Committee has
alleged that the most important "caste factor" was diluted
in the infamous Dalits killing case during the trial and
subsequently when the Bombay High Court commuted the death
sentence of six accused to life imprisonment.
"We had drawn the attention of then Maharashtra Chief
Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on November 12, 2007 about
mitigating the caste factor in Khairlanji case involving the
brutal murder of four members of a Dalit family on September
29, 2006. But the case was treated by special public
prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam as a mere murder trial," Action
Committee Convenor Milind Pakhale, told reporters here.
Pakhale said Nikam did not ask questions to prime
witnesses-- Bhaiyalal Bhotmange and Siddartha Gajbhiye-- about
land disputes, house destructions besides abuse and vulgar
gestures towards deceased teenager Priyanka.
The Convenor also raised questions on the professionalism
of Nikam and claimed that no Dalit organisation or individual
had demanded Nikam`s appointment as SPP in the case.
"Now the onus is on the state government to challenge the
verdict in the apex court," he said yesterday.
It was unfortunate that the court proceedings which
should have been completed within 6 months was dragged to 16
long months, the Committee alleged.