New Delhi: A court
here Monday awarded life sentences to three of the 15 people
convicted for burning alive a 70-year-old man and his physically
challenged daughter in the arson attack on a Dalit settlement at
the Mirchpur village in Haryana's Hisar district last year.
Pronouncing the life term to three convicts - Kulwinder, Ramphal
and Rajender, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau sentenced five
others to varying jail terms up to five years, along with a fine
of Rs.20,000 each.
The five, who were sentenced to lesser jail terms up to five years
are Baljeet, Karamveer, Karampal, Dharambir and Bobal.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs.20,000 each on the three
convicts who were awarded life sentences. The money will be given
to the family of the victims as compensation.
Judge Lau also released seven convicts on probation of one year
along with a fine of Rs.10,000 each. Their behaviour would be
observed by the court over one year.
"I accordingly direct that the convicts Sumit, Pradeep, Rajpal,
Pradeep, Sunil, Rishi and Monu be released on probation, on their
furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs.10,000 each with one
surety of the like amount and to appear and receive sentence when
called upon during such period and in the meantime to keep the
peace and be of good behaviour," said the court.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed that the case be
transferred to a Delhi court to ensure a free and fair trial.
"I may further observe that community and caste based violence can
be prevented by inclusive and interactive political process to
subdue the poisonings and fanaticism of divisive communal
thinking," she said.
"Caste distinctions are often exploited by those wanting to
cultivate discontent and instigate violence and the only effective
safeguard is the bond developed by national democracies and the
vigour of the democratic politics in generating tolerant values,"
the court said.
Tarachand, 70, and his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter
Suman were killed in the April 21 arson attack on their house and
a row of other Dalit houses in Mirchpur village, about 300 km from
A total of 15 accused, belonging to the Jat community, were tried
and held guilty in the case Sep 24.
The court earlier acquitted 82 out of 97 accused in the case,
saying the allegations levelled against them were not proved
beyond reasonable doubt.
The attack followed a dispute between members of the Jat and Dalit
communities of the village.