NHRC urged to probe killing of three Dalits

Mumbai, Jan 31 (IANS) Activists Thursday demanded a probe by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) into the brutal killing of three Dalit youths in a Maharashtra village earlier this month.

According to lawyer-activist P. Telang of Pune-based Manuski, the three victims belonging to Mehtar community (manual scavengers) were lured to an isolated spot in a village in Ahmednagar district, murdered and their bodies dismembered and thrown away.

"They were working as scavengers in a school run by Trimurti Education Society. On New Year Day, (Jan 1), they were called to clean up a septic tank in Nevasa village in the district. Later, their body parts were found in the septic tank and in the fields nearby, in what is suspected to be an attack by upper caste villagers," Telang told IANS.

"We visited the village for probing the matter on January 21. We believe the police are under pressure. They have belatedly nabbed five people in connection with the triple murder. However, the brutality of the killings indicate that more than five people were involved," Telang said.

The victims were identified as Sandeep Thanwas, Rahul Kandare and Sachin Gharu. They had taken up jobs as scavengers in the school run by the trust in Kharwandi village.

The autopsy reports revealed the young men were probably strangulated to death, their limbs chopped off and parts dumped in a septic tanks and in nearby fields.

Following an uproar by activists, police arrested five suspects on grounds that one of the victims was allegedly involved in an affair with an upper-caste girl.

"However, the exact motives behind the killing, the people directly or indirectly involved and other aspects are still not known. So, we have demanded that the NHRC take up the matter," Telang said.

The activists, who briefed a panel of NHRC on the issue here Thursday, have also sought a detailed probe into the killings, putting up the case before a fast-track court, full protection to the victims' families and other witnesses in the case and adequate compensation to the survivors.

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