The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed all appeals filed by 215 convicts, including several officals of the police and forest departments, in cases related to atrocities against tribals of the Vachathi village of Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu in 1992, Live Law reported.
The accused persons had challenged a sessions court that had held them guilty in 2011. On Friday, Justice P Velmurgan of the Madras High Court dismissed the appeals and called for stringent action against the then district collector, district forest officer and superintendent of police.
On June 20, 1992, a team of 155 forest department officials, 108 policemen and six revenue officials raided Vachathi claiming to search for smuggled sandalwood and gather information about bandit Veerappan.
However, during the raids, they ransacked properties of villagers, assaulted them, killed their cattle and raped women, Live Law reported.
Initially, the Madras High Court had dismissed a petition filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), saying that government officials would not have engaged in such activities. Later, the Supreme Court directed the High Court to take up the matter expeditiously.
The High Court then ordered an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Of the total 269 persons accused in the case, 54 died during the trial. All the others were convicted.
The High Court order
On Friday, Justice Velmurugan directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to 18 women who had been raped in 1992. The court ordered that half of the compensation amount should be paid by those convicted in the rape cases, The Hindu reported.
The court also directed the government to provide employment to the villagers whose house had been destroyed during the raids.