Coordinates: 21°22′10″N 79°34′16″E / 21.36944°N
79.57111°E / 21.36944; 79.57111
29 September 2006
Kherlanji located in the
Kherlanji massacre (or Khairlanji massacre) refers to the 2006
murders of Scheduled
Caste citizens by members of the politically
Kunbi caste. The killings took place in a small village
India named Kherlanji, located in the
Bhandara district of the
state of Maharashtra.
3 Court case
3.1 2008 September Verdict by the
3.2 2010 July verdict by the
3.3 Death of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange
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On 29 September 2006, four members of the Bhotmange family belonging
to a Scheduled caste were murdered in a small village called Kherlanji
in Maharashtra. The women of the family, Surekha and Priyanka, were
paraded naked in public before being murdered. Enraged by a police
complaint lodged the previous day by Surekha over a land dispute, the
accused dragged out Surekha Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange and two of her sons
and daughter, paraded naked in the village, sexually abused them and
then hacked them to death. The accused were members of the politically
Kunbi caste. The Indian media did not cover this incident
until the Nagpur riots by the Scheduled
Caste citizens. The criminal
act was in fact carried out by assailants from the politically
powerful Kunbi caste (classified as Other Backward Classes) for
"opposing" the requisition of their field to have a road built over
it. Initial reports suggested that the women were gang-raped before
being murdered. Though CBI investigations concluded that the women
were not raped, there were allegations of bribery of doctors who
performed the post-mortem, and of corruption.
There were allegations that the local police shielded the alleged
perpetrators in the ongoing investigation. A government report on the
killings, prepared by the social justice department and YASHADA—the
state academy of developmental administration, has implicated top
police officers, doctors and even a BJP member of the Legislative
Assembly, Madhukar Kukade in an alleged coverup and hindering the
investigations. Kukade has denied these charges, saying that he had
not even been in
Kherlanji in months. The state Home Minister R. R.
Patil admitted to initial lapses in police investigation and said that
five policemen suspended in the investigation of the killings have
been dismissed. In December 2006, CBI filed a chargesheet against
11 persons under charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, unlawful
assembly with deadly weapons and outraging the modesty of women. CBI
also said that it will investigate the role of the 36 people under
The media coverage of the incident was initially weak, but picked up
momentum after an investigative feature article by Sabrina Buckwalter
with the help of social activist Deelip Mhaske in The Times of India
provided the first mainstream, in-depth coverage of the massacre.
In September 2008, six people were given the death sentence for the
crime. However, on 14 July 2010, the Nagpur bench of the High Court
commuted the death penalty awarded to the six convicted to a 25-year
rigorous imprisonment jail sentence.
Protests against the killings in the
Kherlanji village took place in
various parts of Maharashtra. On 19 November 2006, over 4,000
Caste citizens gathered at the Azad maidan in
protest against the Khairlanji incident. On 23 November 2006,
several members of the Scheduled
Caste community in the nearby
district of Chandrapur staged a protest over the Khairlanji killings.
The protesters allegedly turned violent and threw stones. The police
baton-charged the protesters to control the situation. Scheduled Caste
leaders, however, denied that they had caused any violence and claimed
that they were "protesting in peace".
Vilasrao Deshmukh announced an ex-gratia
payment of Rs 600,000 to the next of kin of the victims' family, and
housing and job awards to the affected family members. He also assured
that his government would give an additional Rs 200,000 to them from
the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
In November and December 2006, the desecration of an Ambedkar statue
Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) triggered off violent protests by Buddhists
in Maharashtra. Several people, including the
Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and the
Mumbai Police Commissioner A N
Roy remarked that the protests were fuelled by the Khairlanji
See also: 2006 Dalit protests in Maharashtra
2008 September Verdict by the
The verdict in the 2006 Khairlanji court case was announced on 15
Bhandara Sessions court has held eight people guilty
of murder and acquitted three.
List of people held guilty of murder:
Gopal Sakru Binjewar
List of acquitted people:
The first ad-hoc sessions judge, S S Dass, had heard the arguments of
prosecution and defence on the quantum of punishment and had fixed 24
September for his pronouncement.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal
Nikam had made a forceful plea for capital punishment to all the
convicts. Defence lawyers Sudip Jaiswal and Neeraj Khandewale pleaded
for leniency in view of the act committed in the heat of the moment
and clean past record of the convicts.
On 24 September 2008, six people were awarded the death sentence,
while two others were given life imprisonment. The ruling was
appealed to the Nagpur division bench of the Bombay High Court where
hearings began in April 2010. Justices A P Lawande and R C Chavan
heard arguments in the case until 21 April 2010, at which point they
announced the verdict would be announced on 15 June 2010. However,
Justice Lawande on 15 June said the decision would be deferred until
14 July 2010 as Justice Chavan is posted in Bombay.
2010 July verdict by the
On 14 July, the Nagpur bench of the High Court commuted the death
penalty awarded to the six convicted to a 25-year rigorous
imprisonment jail sentence. The two others who received life sentences
received a similar sentence.
The ruling touched off statewide protests and re-kindled the fury of
injustice felt by local Scheduled
Caste organizations and the sole
survivor, Bhaiyalal Bhotmange. The court ruled that the murders
resulted from an act of revenge and was not caste related.
Bhotmange was told that the CBI would appeal the commutation to the
Supreme Court, however, after over two weeks of no action, Bhotmange
announced he would appeal the decision himself.
An appeal against the judgment of the High Court is pending before the
Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. It was last listed for hearing on 14
Death of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange
The lone survivour of the 2006 Khairlanji Scheduled
massacre, Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange died on 20 Jan 2017 due to heart
^ Jaishankar, K. (2011), First International Conference of the South
Asian Society [of] Criminology and Victimology (SASCV), 15–17
January 2011, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India: SASCV 2011 : Conference
Proceedings, South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology.
International Conference, PP-295
^ "Death sentences dropped for mob murder of Dalit family". BBC News.
14 July 2010.
^ "Dalit blood on village square". Frontline. Retrieved
^ "Age old rivalry behind Khairlanji violence". NDTV. Retrieved
^ a b "Khairlanji case: 11 chargesheeted". IBN Live. 2006-12-27.
India Outraged: Dalits, Like flies to feudal lords". Tehelka.
2006-04-11. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December
2006. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Buckwalter, Sabrina (2006-12-02). "Just Another Rape Story". The
Times of India. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
^ a b Economic Times
^ "Dalit rally to protest Khairlanji massacre". IBN Live. 2006-11-20.
^ "Situation in Mumbai, state back to normal". The Times of India.
2006-12-02. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
^ "Maharashtra: Dalit anger leaves 4 dead, 60 injured". Rediff.com.
2006-11-30. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
^ "Khairlanji to Kanpur". The Indian Express. 2006-12-02. Archived
from the original on 14 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
^ "Irrational violence: A result of dalit marginalisation". The
Economic Times. 2006-12-02. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
^ "Khairlanji judgment adjourned till July 14". DNA. 2010-06-15.
^ "Bombay HC commutes Khairlanji death penalty to life". DNA.
2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
^ "Khairlanji case: HC commutes death sentence for six". Chennai,
India: The Hindu. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
^ "Bhotmange to move SC in Khairlanji murders case". Hindustan Times.
2010-07-28. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved