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15 Jats convicted in Mirchpur Dalit killings

Source: PTI
September 24, 2011 21:20 IST
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Fifteen out of 97 men belonging to dominant Jat community were convicted on Saturday by a Delhi court in a case of burning alive of a 70-year-old Dalit man and his physically-challenged daughter at Mirchpur village of Haryana's Hisar district last year.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, however, held none of the 15 convicts guilty of murdering the father-daughter duo, relying on the dying declaration of the deceased Tara Chand who had denied he was set ablaze after having been doused with petrol or kerosene oil.

The forensic reports too supported his dying declaration.

The court acquitted 82 accused saying the allegations levelled against them were not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

For setting ablaze Tara Chand's house, which resulted in burning alive of the father-daughter duo on April 21, 2010, after a dispute between Jat and Dalit community of the village, the court convicted Kulwinder, Ramphal and Rajender on charges of committing unintetional killing under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code.

"Tara Chand in his dying declaration to the judicial magistrate does not say that petrol or oil was sprinkled on him, which corroborates the medical evidence and FSL report which shows absence of kerosene, petrol or diesel."

"Therefore, the oral testimonies of Pradeep, Kamal and Amar Lal (prosecution witnesses) to the extent that oil or petrol was sprinkled on them is liable to be rejected, more so as it does not find support from the circumstantial, medical and forensic evidence present on record," the judge said.

Besides the three, 12 others were convicted on milder charges of arson, rioting and making unlawful assembly. Six of them Monu, Baljeet, Karamveer, Karampal, Dharambir and Bobal were convicted for setting ablaze the houses of the members of the Dalit community.

Another six Sumit, Pradeep, Sunil, Rajpal, Rishi and Pradeep were held guilty for rioting, unlawful assembly and causing damages to properties by stone-pelting.

The court convicted 15 Jats after examining 68 prosecution witnesses, 44 defence witnesses and one court witness. The court, in it's over 1000-page judgement, classified the witnesses in three categories -- reliable witnesses, not totally reliable and unreliable ones.

It termed five witnesses as totally unreliable and 14 as "not totally reliable" besides two witnesses as "reliable." The court said the incident "does not appear to be caste-based discrimination".

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