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Neutral agency to study atrocities against Dalits

HINDUSTAN TIMES

Following the Dalit ministers’ demand that atrocities against their community be averted, the state government on Monday decided to appoint a neutral agency to recommend measures to check the social evil. In the Cabinet meeting on August 4, Ministers Nitin Raut, Varsha Gaikwad and Ramesh Bagwe (from Congress) and Laxman Dhoble (from the NCP) raised Khairlanji mass murder case. They had demanded the issue be discussed in the Cabinet as the Dalits wanted to know whether the state was serious about their concerns.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan turned down the demand but had held a separate meeting on the issue immediately after the Cabinet meeting. The high court has reduced the death sentences of the six convicts to life.

The ministers alleged that the accused got a relief because they were not tried under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Following the court’s verdict, the Dalit community demanded the state to challenge it in the Supreme Court. Taking note of this, Chavan asked the officials to present the state’s side to the Central Bureau of Investigations that has probed the case.

“We will also verify if it is possible for the government to plead its case in the Supreme Court,” Chavan said.

On Monday, the CM discussed the case with Dairy Development Minister Nitin Raut, who had led the protesting ministers, Republic Party of India’s Ramdas Athwale, advocate general, Ravi Kadam, senior bureaucrats from home, law and judiciary, social welfare department and CBI officers.

The state is likely to appoint the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to study atrocities against the Dalits, said a government source. He said a high-power committee would also be appointed to supervise the social issue. “A nodal officer will also be appointed.”

COURTESY: HINDUSTAN TIMES, AUG 24/10

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