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Khairlanji killings: Key witness suspended from post
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January 16, 2007 14:08 IST

A key witness in Maharashtra's Khairlanji Dalit killings has been suspended from his post of 'police patil' by Bhandara district administration for alleged involvement in an assault case, an official said on Tuesday.

Siddharth Gajbhiye, a relative of the victims, was a police patil, a civil appointee in villages who liaises with the local police and revenue department and was paid honorarium by the government.

"Gajbhiye has been suspended for allegedly assaulting some persons in Ghusala village where he was a police patil in January 2006," Additional Collector of Bhandara N B Wati told PTI by phone.

The suspension orders were issued by the sub-divisional officer on January 10, he added.

Siddharth and his younger brother Rajendra are the key witnesses in the massacre of four members of a Dalit family in Khairlanji village in Bhandara in September, 2006.

Surekha Bhotmange, her teenage daughter Priyanka and sons Roshan and Sudhir were brutally killed by a group of villagers.

The Gajbhiyes, related to Bhotmanges, were first to report the gruesome killings to police.

Siddharth had filed a first information report in the case, but it was not registered under the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act by the police for which the policemen concerned were suspended.

The case is now being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Both brothers, at a press conference in Mumbai early this month, had apprehended threat to their lives and demanded adequate security.

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