A special court in Gir-Somnath district of Gujarat on Thursday convicted 11 men accused of burning alive a Dalit man in Una district in 2012 and sentenced them to life imprisonment, reported PTI. The court termed it as a “rarest of rare” case.
A mob belonging to the upper caste Koli community had burnt alive Lalji Sarvaiya, 27, in his house in Ankolali village, forcing his family of 14 to flee. The man’s brother Piyush Sarvaiya told Ahmedabad Mirror there was still much to do to rehabilitate the family.
The family’s lawyer Govind Parmar said the victim, who worked in a stone quarry, had applied for a mining license but some villagers were against it. “As part of a conspiracy, Dhiru Koli falsely claimed that Sarvaiya had kidnapped his daughter and hid her in his house,” Parmar told PTI. “On September 13, 2012, Dhiru and others gathered outside Sarvaiya’s house and locked him up.”
The accused then poured kerosene and set the house on fire, according to the chargesheet.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 54,000 on each of the accused. The court said the money shall be paid to the victim’s father, Kala Sarvaiya.
Earlier this week, a member of the Dalit community flogged by upper-caste men in Una city in 2016 wrote to the president seeking permission for mercy killing. On July 11, 2016, more than 40 men from the upper caste Darbar community had assaulted seven members of the Sarvaiya family for skinning a dead cow in Gir Somnath district’s Una town.