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Dalit Murder

Khairlanji massacre

The Kherlanji massacre (or Khairlanji massacre) refers to the 2006 lynching-style murders of a Dalit family by members of the politically dominant, but backward Kunbi caste. The killings took place in a small village in India named Kherlanji, located in the Bhandara district of the state of Maharashtra. On 29 September 2006, four members of the Bhotmange family belonging to the Dalit underclass were slaughtered in Khairlanji, a small village in Bhandara district of Maharashtra. The women of the family, Surekha and Priyanka, were paraded naked in public, before being murdered. The Indian media did not cover this incident until the Nagpur riots by the Dalits and then uniformly and wrongly ascribed the killings to "upper castes", a claim picked up by Human Rights organisations and the international media, reinforcing the stereotype of "upper castes" versus "lower castes". Later it was discovered that the criminal act was carried out by assailants from the politically powerful Kunbi caste (classified as Other Backward Castes by Government of India) for "opposing" the requisition of their field to have a road built over it. Initial reports suggested that the women were allegedly gang-raped before being murdered. Though CBI investigations revealed that the women were not raped, there are allegations of bribery of doctors who performed the post-mortem, and of corruption.There were allegations that the local police shielded the alleged perpetrators in the ongoing investigation. A government report on the killings, prepared by the social justice department and YASHADA—the state academy of developmental administration, has implicated top police officers, doctors and even a BJP member of the Legislative Assembly, Madhukar Kukade in an alleged coverup and hindering the investigations. Kukade has denied these charges, saying that he had not even been in Kherlanji in months. The state Home Minister R. R. Patil admitted to initial lapses in police investigation and said that five policemen suspended in killings have been sacked. In December 2006, CBI filed a chargesheet against 11 persons under charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly with deadly weapons and outraging the modesty of women. CBI also said that it will investigate the role of the 36 people under detention.
The media coverage of the incident was initially weak, but picked up momentum after an investigative feature article by Sabrina Buckwalter in The Times of India provided the first mainstream, in depth coverage of the massacre. The Indian blogosphere responded significantly, with thousands of bloggers expressing outrage at the media for "poor coverage" of the incident. A famous expatriate Indians' blog posts:
"As coverage of India in the mainstream media has moved on from snake-charmers to Bollywood and now to its economic strengths; its own politicians and foreign journalists gloss over the fact that deep in the heartlands there remain serious social problems".
In September 2008, six people were awarded the death sentence for the crime. However, on 14 July 2010, the Nagpur bench of the High Court commuted the death penalty awarded to the six convicted to a 25-year rigorous imprisonment jail sentence.

A CHAMAR YOUTH WAS GRUESOMELY MURDERED & HIS BLOOD WAS OFFERED TO “Kali Devi” in a temple… Siddiqui][Press Release]Rajan Lal a 40 years young Jatav/Chamar (dalit) youth was brutally murdered by the thakurs (Kshatriyas) of Pora village under Sikandra Rao Police Station, Mahamaya Nagar (U.P.) on the fateful night of 22nd August, 2011 in Janaki Temple situated in the vicinity of the village. The killer thakurs (Caste Hindu) after having murdered Rajan Lav have offered his blood to the Hindu Goddess “Kali”. It appears that they have also informed/conspired with the local police which has taken away the dead body of Late Rajan Lal within no time. The deceased family (brother) has made a stiff resistance but of no avail.

A local organization named JATAV SWABHIMAN SANGHARSH SAMITI has announced to hold a “Jatav Mahapanchayat” on 24th September’11 at nearby town Sikandra Rao, Mahamaya Nagar (U.P.) as a matter of protest. No action has so far been taken in the matter except sending only one of the culprits to the jail on very flimsy grounds so that the culprit may be bailed out easily.

It may be noted that the thakur is kotwal of the Police Station under which the heinous crime was committed. The Dy. Superintendent of Police is a Brahmin who appears to have his hand in the murder.No help of any sort has so far been rendered to the family of the deceased which has seven members to survive.Former IAS and National President of Ambedkar Samaj Party Bhai Tej Singh informs this correspondent 

Andhra Pradesh Dalit murders: CID begins investigation
Press Trust of India | Updated: June 21, 2012 08:52 

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has initiated an inquiry into the June 12 killing of four Dalits at Lakshmipet village in Srikakulam district even as three police officials were brought under Vacancy Reserve (VR) for inaction, a top police officer said.

As per Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy's directive, the CID has taken up inquiry into the incident. Sub-inspector of Vangara police station, Circle Inspector of Rajam and Palakonda Deputy Superintendent of Police were brought under the vacancy reserve (VR) with immediate effect, Additional DGP (Law and Order) SA Huda said.

Substitutes have been posted at their places besides a Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) has also been placed at Palakonda, he said.

Four Dalits were killed and at least 25 villagers injured in an attack at Lakshmipet village, allegedly by members of a backward class community, after differences arose between the two groups over ownership of a piece of land.

Dalit panchayat president killed in Chennai suburb

K. Manikandan

ENDLESS SPIRAL Purushothaman’s (inset) murder is only the latest in a series of political killings to rock Kancheepuram district. Photo: A. Muralitharan

Tension prevailed in the area as his supporters and angry residents of Mannivakkam and Otteri Extension assembled at the spot. His wife Shanthi is a district representative of the party’s Kancheepuram unit.

Kancheepuram district police said preliminary investigations clearly established that the murder was a fallout of political rivalry and personal enmity.

Mannivakkam, along with neighbouring Urapakkam, have earned notoriety for many instances of murder in broad daylight. The murder of Menaka, the Dalit panchayat president of Urapakkam inside the panchayat office in 2000, and G.N.R. Kumar, a president of the same panchayat a couple of years ago, had shocked residents of these villages. Several functionaries of various political parties have also been killed by hired men in these panchayats. G.N.R. Kumar was travelling in his car when a gang hurled country-made bombs before hacking him to death.

Members of political parties and residents live in constant fear as murders and violent incidents due to rivalries between gangs have become a regular phenomenon.

As many as 10 persons have been hacked to death in the recent past.

An AIADMK functionary, Ravi was murdered in October 1998 and Kothandam, a DMK supporter, two months later.

In April 1999, another DMK supporter, Velumani, was killed, and Ganesan, an accused in the case, was hacked to death as he was being brought to court in September that year.
Two popular functionaries of the AIADMK, R.K. Kumar and Adikesavan, were murdered at Kancheepuram and near Chengalpattu respectively. One Ponnurangam was hacked to death on May 31 2000, and Kanniappan, an AIADMK sympathiser, was done to death on September 19 the same year.

A wave of shock spread through the district when ‘Nondi’ Kumar, a well-known DMK functionary, was hacked to death after having been dragged out from his house in the afternoon. The gang which arrived in a car brutally attacked him. A profusely bleeding Kumar fell unconscious and assuming that he was dead, the assailants got into the car, but when Kumar woke up and called out for help, they returned and hacked him until he died. Tense moments were witnessed in the Mannivakkam area following the murder.

The murders continued with AIADMK activist Purushothaman being murdered in Guduvanchery on December 13, 2000 and Senguttuvan of the DMK hacked to death in February 2001.

A particularly shocking incident amidst this spiral of violence was the murder of Ms. Menaka, president of the Urappakkam panchayat, inside her chamber on the panchayat premises in broad daylight in March 2000.

The murder took place right in front of Mr. Nehru, her brother, who barely managed to escape.

Hindu gang murders Dalit youth

Sep 29, 2012 at 08:53am IST

An 18-year-old old Dalit youth from Theerthakadu near Vandiyur was allegedly murdered by a gang of Caste Hindus here on Tuesday. One person was arrested, while four others surrendered in connection with the incident, said to have been the fallout of land dispute between the two communities.

Around 6.30 pm, Karikalan (18) was passing through Saurashtrapuram near Vandiyur when he was waylaid by a nine-member gang.  The gang allegedly attacked Karikalan with lethal weapons. He was taken to Government Rajaji Hospital with grievous injuries around 7.30 pm. However, he succumbed around 9.15 pm.

A case was registered with the Karuppayurani police station. Karikalan’s father Malaisamy, a lorry driver who worked in Chennai, accompanied by his relatives and neighbours, reached the hospital  early on Wednesday. Since there was no progress in the case till noon, the group, along with functionaries of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, gathered at the GRH and blocked the Panagal road, demanding that Collector Anshul Mishra and Superintendent of Police V Balakrishnan intervene in the matter to ensure a fair investigation.

When Anna Nagar Assistant Commissioner of Police Velladorai reached the spot and urged the protestors not to block traffic on the road, they walked towards the Collectorate, raising slogans urging police to arrest the culprits.

Some VCK functionaries then met the Collector and pressed their demand. Following an assurance from the Collector, they dispersed. Later in the day, police arrested Karthick alias Pattakathi in connection with the murder. Four others, identified as Poopandi, Selvakumar, Arunpandi and Sachi Bala, also surrendered before the Judicial Magistrate court here.A land dispute between youth belonging to the two communities during a temple festival in Yagappa Nagar two months ago could have led to the incident, according to Muthamizh Pandian, the rural district treasurer and coordinator of the Vandiyur Theerthakadu Land Retrieval Struggle Committee.

A group, including Udayakumar, Veerapandi and Poopandi, subsequently attacked Karikalan and his relative Iyyanar, injuring them, Pandian said, while adding that Udayakumar was later arrested in this connection. Now Karikalan was murdered as a sequel to the dispute, he said. The dispute between the two communities, he detailed, arose 30 years ago and led to friction.

The conflict pertained to a nine acre, 13 cents patta land allotted  to the Schedule Caste community in 1979, Pandian said. He claimed that the Caste Hindus gradually encroached the particular property. “Although a separate piece of land was allotted for Caste Hindus in Sakkimangalam, they are reluctant to shift there and continue occupying the land allotted to the SC community,” he said.

 A civil case was pending before the Supreme Court with regard to the dispute over the property, currently occupied by around 150 SC families and 250 Caste Hindu families.

Four Dalits were killed

Published on Jun 13, 2012 
by DalitChristians
Four Dalits were killed and 25 injured in an attack, allegedly by members of a Backward Class community, at Lakshmipeta of Vangara mandal, 55 km from here Hyderabad. The condition of four, admitted in the Rajam area hospital was stated to be critical.As a majority of police personnel had been drafted for the by-election duty in Narasannapeta, the attackers backed by 'village elders' took advantage of the situation to indulge in bloodbath. Police reached the spot two-and-a-half hours after the attack that took place at 8 a.m.

The victims have been identified as Burada Sundara Rao (45), Chitri Appadu (35), Nivarti Venkati (65) and Nivarti Sangameshu (40).

According to the police and locals, differences arose between the two communities over use of leftover land alienated for the Madduvalasa reservoir. The government acquired lands for the reservoir but a portion of it remained vacant. With both sections claiming ownership, the district administration's efforts to bring about a rapprochement did not bear fruit.

A police picket had been posted in the village to avert clashes. But after several police personnel left for poll duty at Narsannapeta, the dominant section went on the rampage attacking the dalits with crude bombs, sickles, hatchets, axes and other weapons.

The shocked Dalits could neither retaliate nor run for safety.

"My father Venkati begged with folded hands to spare him saying the entire family depended on him. But the attackers did not heed his appeal and killed him on the spot," said a shocked Anuradha who had become unconscious after witnessing the attack.

The State government decided to inquire into the Lakshmipeta incident under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The government will pay compensation of Rs.2 lakh to each bereaved family member.

According to district Collector G. Venkatram Reddy, Minister for Medical Education Kondru Muralimohan will distribute Rs.1.5 lakh to each of four families on Wednesday and the remaining Rs.50, 000 will be distributed after the thorough inquiry and court verdict.

Meanwhile, Palakonda Revenue Divisional Officer S. Venkateswara Rao submitted an interim inquiry report to the Collector. According to him, all the deceased were agriculture labourers and were the bread winners for their respective families.

A CPI(M) team consisting of Bhaviri Krishnamurthy and Panchadi Papa Rao visited the village demanded an ex gratia Rs.10 lakh and 5 acres of land to each family.

Palakonda Revenue Divisional Officer Saluru Venkateswara Rao assured the victims' families that their grievances would be taken the notice of the government.

Dalit boy was beaten to death

Patna: A 14-year-old Dalit boy was beaten to death in Bihar's Samastipur district by an orchard owner who saw him collecting dry wood from his orchard without permission, police officials said.

Sharvan Paswan, a resident of Tahbalpur village under Lodipur police station jurisdiction in Samastipur, about 80 km from here, was beaten to death on Thursday for collecting wood from the orchard of Pappu Mandal. 

The victim's elder brother Vakil Paswan has filed a police complaint. 

Police official Umeshwar Jha said a first information report (FIR) under Section 302 (punishment for murder) was lodged against Mandal on the basis of Vakil's statement. "Police raided Mandal's house but he is absconding, along with his family," Jha said. 

According to Vijay Kumar, another police official, Paswan was called by Mandal when he saw him gathering some dry sticks from his orchard. Mandal beat Paswan mercilessly, and Paswan's aunt rushed to help him on hearing his cries. Vijay Kumar said the aunt was also attacked with a sharp weapon. 

Mandal works in a bank in neighbouring Banka district.

Dalit killed for entering temple in Bihar
12 Oct 2008, 1103 hrs IST,PTI

Bihar: In a shocking incident, one person was killed and two were injured when upper caste people allegedly shot at a person hailing from Dalit commu
nity who had gone to offer prasad to goddess Durga at Jiyar village of Bihar's Nalanda district.

Police said Karu Paswan, hailing from the Scheduled Caste community, had gone to offer prasad to the goddess but this was resisted by upper caste men leading to a clash between them on Saturday night.

During the clash, Ratan Singh, an upper caste member, allegedly fired from his gun critically injuring three persons, including Karu Paswan. Paswan died on way to Patna Medical College and Hospital. Singh could not be traced after the incident.

An FIR has been lodged against seven unnamed persons. A police camp has been set up in the area to prevent communal flare-up.

A Dalit’s murder in wake of SP victory

The newly elected Samajwadi Party MLA from Bah, Aridaman Singh, and nine supporters were today booked for the murder of the husband of a Dalit village pradhan.
Munna Lal — who virtually ran the show in the name of his wife Guddi Devi, the actual pradhan of Parvati Purva village — was beaten to death in Agra on Thursday reportedly for refusing to vote for the Samajwadi Party candidate during the elections.
This is the latest in a series of incidents of violence, allegedly by SP men, since the announcement of Assembly poll results on March 6. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today called a meeting of police officers to direct them to check the violence while son Akhilesh Singh saw a conspiracy to defame the party.
Munna Lal, 40, was attacked by more than 20 men while sitting at the panchayat ghar. MLA Singh has been booked on the charge of hatching a conspiracy for murder.
Munna Lal’s nephew Daya Shankar claimed the murder was the fallout of a dispute during Singh’s visit to the village seeking votes. He was accompanied by the Thakurs of the village.
“The Thakurs asked the pradhan to ensure that the people of his community cast vote in favour of Singh. Munna Lal refused. Aridaman and others threatened to deal with him after the election,” said Shankar. Circle officer Siddharth said the postmortem report was awaited.

Twelve tribals killed in police shooting in Orissa
By Parwini Zora - World Socialist Web Site,17 January 2006
Twelve tribal villagers in India were shot dead by police on January 12 during a demonstration against the development of the Kalinga Nagar steel complex in the eastern state of Orissa. The impoverished protestors were demanding a halt to construction by steel developers on their traditional land. A 13-year-old boy and three women were among those killed.

In 1992, the local government in Orissa seized the tribal land, paying the villagers a pittance in compensation. The 12,000-acre area was then designated as a steel complex, and lucrative leasing contracts were negotiated with local and foreign investors. Local people have repeatedly protested against the decision over the past decade.

The massacre on January 2 occurred as villagers staged a demonstration against the construction of a boundary wall for a site leased to TATA Steel, India’s largest private steel producer. The local government, led by a coalition of the right-wing nationalist Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP), dispatched several hundred police to secure the site. According to Frontline magazine: “There were strict instructions from the State Secretariat to facilitate the construction, and the district administration was more than eager to obey.”

After tear gas and rubber bullets failed to disperse the crowd, police opened fire against the tribal people, some of whom were armed with bows and arrows and fought back against the police attack. As well as the 12 protestors, a policeman was killed in the hour-long clash. About 25 people were wounded, including four police.

Adding to the misery of the families of the dead, police later severed the hands of five of the victims during the post-mortem examinations. According to the police, this was “standard procedure” in recording the fingerprints of unidentified bodies. Demonstrators insisted, however, that police mutilated the bodies in revenge for their colleague’s death.

The massacre triggered ongoing protests throughout the region. Steel workers at the Jindal and Mesco steel plants in Kalinga Nagar went on strike in solidarity with the villagers. Thousands of workers and tribal farmers attended the cremation of those killed. The funerals took the form of mass protests, as mourners blocked a highway and chanted slogans against the police and state authorities.

The Orissa massacre once again brings to light the widespread police brutality and torture inflicted on impoverished workers and peasants, particularly those belonging to tribal communities and oppressed castes. The killings at the steel complex follow a series of similar incidents across India in recent years.

An oppressed social layer

Tribal people constitute more than five percent of India’s total population, and have long been among the country’s most oppressed and marginalised strata. Access to their traditional lands, which are typically remote but resource rich, has come under sustained attack in recent years. Successive Indian governments at both the local and federal level have promoted India as a haven for foreign investment, and have encouraged transnational companies to launch projects on land requisitioned from the tribal inhabitants.

In Orissa, local authorities have made large sums of money from this process. As one tribal protestor explained to the BBC, “We were paid only 37,000 rupees ($US823) per acre of land whereas the government has sold the same land to the companies for over 300,000 rupees per acre.” In many cases, even the small amount of money promised to the inhabitants has been held back by pending lawsuits. Promises of jobs have also failed to materialise. Local officials admit that just over a quarter of the displaced families have been given alternative employment.

Eighty percent of the Orissa population are farmers and agricultural labourers, and inadequate public spending in agriculture and public infrastructure has led to a serious lack of employment opportunities.

Until recently, tribal villagers living within the Kalinga Nagar steel complex area continued to cultivate the land, despite the state seizure of their property. They have demanded proper compensation for their land at current market rates and an adequate resettlement package that provides them with a means of securing their livelihoods. None of these demands have been met, however, and as the steel companies have expanded their operations, the tribespeople have come under government pressure and police attacks to vacate the area.

The massacre has had political repercussions throughout India as well as Orissa. The local BJP considered withdrawing from the Orissa ruling coalition in an attempt to deflect popular outrage over the killings. The national BJP—which has been marked by a series of internal crises following its defeat at the last federal election—quickly overruled the proposal however. As a sop to local anger, Orissa authorities announced that a judicial inquiry will be held into the killings, and the district magistrate Saswat Mishra and superintendent of police Binaytosh Mishra have been transferred.

All of the established parties have tried to capitalise on the outrage felt by ordinary working people. Sonia Gandhi, the ruling Congress Party’s leader, visited the area and laid a wreath at the site where those killed had been cremated. She also announced that compensation to families of those killed would be raised to 500,000 rupees, from the 100,000 rupees initially pledged. A further 50,000 rupees and the payment of medical expenses was promised to those injured by police. These pledges have been denounced by the victims’ families and tribal protestors, who are demanding that at least 2 million rupees in compensation for each person killed.

The local Orissa Congress Party joined the Stalinist Communist Party of India (Marxist) in calling for statewide strikes, which resulted in the ransacking of several government buildings on January 7. Strikes called by Stalinist parties were held the same day in the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, while the Communist Party of India (Maoist) announced a one-day strike in West Bengal on January 16. All of these measures are designed to divert public anger into politically safe channels.

The entire political establishment in India—including the Stalinist and Maoist “left”—bears responsibility for creating the social and economic conditions for the Orissa massacre. The integration of the Indian economy into the international capitalist market, which is backed by all the established parties, has been accompanied by a sustained assault on the social position of the country’s workers and peasant masses. The Indian ruling elite has sought to assure foreign investors that the extraction of profit from its resource-rich and low-wage country will not be threatened by strikes and protests.

The deepening gulf between rich and poor is evident in Orissa. Around 30 percent of India’s iron ore reserves and 24 percent of its coal reserves are located in the state. Despite this natural wealth, Orissa remains among the poorest in India, with about half of the total population living below the official poverty line. Indian and international companies, on the other hand, are expecting make huge profits in the eastern state. The local government has signed contracts for establishing steel plants with 43 Indian and transnational companies, of which 13 have reached the commissioning stage. The contracts are worth a total of $40 billion to the state government, while the steel companies are no doubt forecasting tens of billions more in future profits.

Among the foreign investors is Australia’s BHP-Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, which together with the Korean steel company POSCO, has invested $12 billion in an iron ore mine in Orissa. The operation is the single largest foreign direct investment venture in India. The rapid growth of the Chinese economy is also fuelling investment in Indian iron and steel. Total iron ore exports, now standing at 5 million tonnes, swelled five-fold in the last five years. Half of the country’s iron ore exports now go to China.

The Indian ruling elite has ambitions beyond merely supplying China with the raw materials for its industrial expansion however. India is competing with China to attract foreign direct investment and to develop value-added manufacturing industries and cannot afford to allow protests to interfere with this strategy. For this reason, the Orissa massacre will not be the last.

‘Honour’ killing of Dalit youth Shankar in Tamil Nadu: death for six, including father-in-law

R. Vimal Kumar

A file picture of Sankar and Kausalya at the time of their wedding in 2015. Sankar, a Dalit, was hacked to death for marrying Ms. Kausalya , a caste Hindu.  

Of the remaining five accused, one was awarded the life sentence, one got a five-year jail term and three were acquitted, including the victim's mother-in-law Annalakshmi.

In what is believed to be the first such conviction in a case of murder perpetrated due to caste-based discrimination, a trial court here awarded death penalty to six persons, including the father of a caste Hindu girl, for conspiring and killing a Dalit youth who had fallen in love and married her.
On March 13 last year, an armed gang had indiscriminately hacked Shankar, a Dalit youth, and his wife Kausalya belonging to the Thevar (OBC) community, outside a shopping complex in Udumalpet in Tirupur district, with long knives. While Shankar had succumbed to the injuries, Kousalya sustained serious injuries.
The police had arrested 11 persons including Kausalya’s parents Chinnasamy (40) and Annalakshmi (35) and the assailants.
Following the trial, Principal District and Sessions Judge Alamelu Natarajan on Tuesday held eight of the 11 accused guilty and awarded death sentences to six of them including Chinnasamy (prime accused); life sentence to one accused and a five-year imprisonment term to another accused. She acquitted Annalakshmi (Accused 2), P. Pandidurai (A-3, Kausalya’s uncle) and the 10th accused V. Prasanna Kumar (19) stating the prosecution had failed to prove their involvement in the crime beyond reasonable doubt.
The death sentence of the six convicts would be executed subject to mandatory confirmation from Madras High Court.
The court ordered to collect a total compensation of Rs 11,95,000 from the eight convicts which needed to be paid in different proportions to Kausalya, Shankar’s father and the government.


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