14 November 2006

The AIDWA is shocked by the heinous crime against dalits in Khairlanji village, and has demanded a CBI enquiry into the whole incident so that the guilty are identified and punished. We enclose herewith the details of the gory incident, on the basis of a visit by AIDWA Vice Presidents Brinda Karat, and Kalindi Deshpande to the site. The Central Government has to take note of this matter and AIDWA will take it up with them as also with the NCW, and the Human Rights Commission, demanding that justice be done. AIDWA will launch a nation wide agitation to ensure that the culprits do not escape the consequences of their crime.






                                 ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION
                                                       Maharashtra State Committee
                           E-5 Ensa Hutments, Mahapalika Marg, Mumbai 400 001
                                                           Phone : 65286823


                                                                                                            Date : 14th Nov. 2006


                                                            PRESS RELEASE




The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has demanded a thorough CBI probe into the Khairlanji incident in which 4 members of a Dalit family were brutally massacred in an attack by upper castes last month.  Criticising the manner in which the state government has handled the issue, the AIDWA has also called for the dismissal of those police officers guilty of dereliction of duty while investigating the incident.  AIDWA Vice-Presidents Brinda Karat and Kalindi Deshpande visited Khairlanjee on the 9th November and met the sole survivor of the affected Bhotmange family, Bhaiyyalal, as well as Siddartha Gajbhiye, and took details of the incident.  They found an extremely shoddy investigation that smacks of deep-rooted caste bias on the part of the investigation authorities.  It is shocking that despite the fact that Bhaiyalal reported that his wife and children had been stripped and paraded naked by certain upper caste members of the village, the beat constable ignored his pleas.  Subsequently, his wife Surekha and daughter were found dead, raped and tortured, along with his two young sons, but the police did not register a case under the SC-ST Atrocity Act till the State Human Rights Commission intervened in the matter.  It is not enough to merely suspend the DySP, it is necessary to bring to book all those police officers responsible in the matter and penalize them for having violated the Constitutional guarantee of protection to dalits.

The organization has also condemned the manner in which the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra R R Patil, who is also in change of the Home portfolio, dismissed the protests by the outraged dalit community as the work of ‘naxalites’.  These remarks are an attempt to divert attention from the caste prejudice of the police, and indicate the lack of seriousness with which the incident is being treated.  It is quite clear that the police suppressed facts because they did not want the incident to come to light on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Dharmma Deeksha ceremony at Nagpur.  It is a matter of deep concern that dalits continue to be under
attack in a state like Maharashtra, while members of the ruling coalition of Congress(I) and NCP extol the movements led by Mahatma Phule and Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar.  Both the local BJP MLA as well as the MP representing Bhandara kept totally silent about the incident, exposing their upper caste bias. Equally condemnable is the manner in which a character assassination campaign has been started against the women victims of the massacre, again to divert attention from the main issue, which is that of the fundamental right of dalits to live a life of dignity.

AIDWA has demanded protection to Bhaiyalal and Gajbhiye, since there is no guarantee that they will not be further attacked for having come forth to complain against the perpertrators of the crime.  We also condemn the arrest of women activists protesting the lack of action by the state government, and demand that cases against them be immediately withdrawn.  AIDWA will take up the issue with the state authorities and pursue the complaint, against the police officers and also assist Bhaiyalal to ensure that justice is done in the case.


                        Sd/-                                         Sd/-                              Sd/-

(Kalindi Deshpande)             (Kiran Moghe)             (Mariam Dhawale)
National Vice-President        State President             State Secretary
  9421004295                           9422317212                    9869457586