Kin complain of delays in probe

More than three weeks after three Dalit youths were killed in Ahmednagar district's Sonai village in an act of honour killing, their relatives have complained that though the state government was quick to give assurances of a fair and fast trial, there has been progress in the matter. R R Patil had assured a CID probe, fast-track trial and appointment of public prosecutor chosen by the families, amongst other things. Seven people have been arrested, but the chargesheet is yet to be filed.

On February 1, Sandeep Thanvar (26), Rahul Kandare (20) and Sachin Gharu (22) were killed and their limbs chopped off. Sandeep's brother Pankaj said he has visited Patil's office twice after the incident and wrote two letters but has not received a reply.

"When I met R R Patil on February 6, he assured us that the case will be immediately tried in a fast-track court and Ujwal Nikam will be appointed as the public prosecutor as demanded by us. But nothing has been done yet. We wanted the case to be shifted out of Ahmednagar zilla parishad which has not happened," said Thanvar, who is a jawan in the Indian Army and posted at LoC in Kargil. He has taken a long leave after his brother's death and fears that the matter will get subdued after he resumes duty.

Priyadarshi Telang, member of NGO Manuski said as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been invoked, the chargesheet should be filed with utmost urgency. "The eagerness the police had shown earlier has reduced greatly. Statements of all witnesses have not been recorded yet. Authorities are merely trying to compromise and weaken the case," said Telang.

One of the victims, Gharu, who belonged to the Mehtar (Valmiki) community, was hacked into pieces allegedly because he had been in a relationship with a 19-year-old upper caste girl.

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