AP: HRF criticises Dalit tonsuring case verdict

HRF stated the crime in this case should not merely be viewed as one committed against the victims, but against the entire oppressed community.
Representative Image
Representative Image

VIJAYAWADA: The Human Rights Forum (HRF) opines that the judgment in the Venkatayapalem Dalit tonsuring case serves justice only notionally.

While the XI Additional District Judge & SC/ST Court in Visakhapatnam was impartial in convicting the accused, the leniency in deciding the sentence indicates that the court may have overlooked the casteist nature of the crime, as mentioned in a release issued Wednesday.

Although the sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, invoked in this case have provisions for a maximum punishment of five years, the court convicted the accused to a jail term of 18 months. It is pertinent to note that the MLC membership of the prime accused, Thota Trimurthulu, would have been disqualified had the jail term crossed two years, rendering him ineligible to contest in the upcoming polls.

HRF stated the crime in this case should not merely be viewed as one committed against the victims, but against the entire oppressed community. There is no justifiable reason for the court’s lenient approach in deciding the sentence. The accused, 10 in number, have managed to prolong the case for 28 years owing to the social, economic, and political clout they hold, it said.

Their caste background played a key role in ensuring the support of all political parties in the State, it said and demanded the State file an appeal in the High Court to increase the duration of the punishment. If the victims decide to file a private appeal, the HRF will ensure all the cooperation required, it added.

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