Dalit killing case shifted out of Haryana

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NEW DELHI - In a blow to the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, the Supreme Court Wednesday transferred the trial of those accused of attacking Dalits in Haryana to New Delhi.

We are convinced that for ensuring a fair trial free from any pressure from any quarter the trial should be shifted to Delhi, said an apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly.

Now, the trial in the April 21 attack in Mirchpur village of Haryana’s Hisar district would be conducted by an additional session judge, designated under the law to prevent atrocities against Dalits, at the Rohini court complex here.

The apex court directed the trial court judge in Hisar to send the records of the case to the Delhi court.

The apex court said that the Delhi court would be free to re-examine witnesses.

The court decided to transfer the trial to Delhi after going through the report of the additional session judge, Hisar, from which it was clear that the proceedings in Haryana were not taking place in an atmosphere conducive for a free and fair trial.

The Hisar judge was asked to submit his report following affidavits by two lawyers for the complainants and victims Rajat Kalson and Veena Sharma, alleging witnesses were being coerced to turn hostile.

The report admitted that lawyers were frightened and terrorized during the trial.

The Hissar judge was asked during the course of the hearing Nov 23 to file the report in a sealed cover.

The apex court Wednesday declined the submission by senior counsel P.N. Mishra that the trial could be shifted to Chandigarh.

Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners and victims, opposed Mishra’s plea and said that trial should be shifted to Delhi.

On April 21, people from the dominant caste attacked and burnt houses of Dalits belonging to the Valmiki community in Mirchpur village. In the attack, a 70-year-old man and his physically challenged daughter were burnt alive.

The attack led to the exodus of Dalits from the village to different parts of Haryana and Delhi. It was on the intervention of the apex court that police arrested 52 people for the attack.

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