Conspiracy Of Silence
06 December, 2006
the report prepared by a government agency , Yashwantrao Chavan Academy
of Development Administration (YASHADA) that provides administrative
training and also sensitizes the administration on atrocity-related
issues, has severely indicted senior police officials and doctors for
their attempt to cover up the rape of Surekha and Priyanka Bhotmange
, two of the four victims and recommended stringent action against them,
including making them co-accused in the state, booking them under the
Prevention of Atrocities Act and treating them on par with terrorist.
Four officials have been so far suspended in the matter.
The report also points out
at the lapses in the conduct of the following key officials,
1. Pankaj Gupta - Special
Inspector General of Police, Nagpur
He accepted a bribe from
interested elements for making a statement that the incident did not
2. Dr.Shende - Who did the
He did not check the possibility
of a sexual attack on women victims though their bodies were found naked
and did not perform the necessary tests. Blood samples were not taken
in spite of a written requisition from police.
3. Madhukar Kukade - local
He was present during the
postmortem of Priyanka Bhotmange's body. (by mentioning this the report
hints at pressure from higher ups to fabricate post-mortem's findings).
4. Dr.P.S. Pasricha - Director
General of Police
He did not visit Khairlanji
even after Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister
R.R. Patil had been there. The report says this reflects insensitivity
at the top levels of the police department towards communal atrocities
and sends totally wrong signals to the police machinery in the state.
The report has been prepared
after interviewing 28 persons and examining the documents. The report
says the medical authorities committed 'extremely serious neglect, perhaps
of deliberate nature, during post-mortem of Priyanka Bhotmange's family.
The report also states that 'the district authorities such as district
magistrate, superintendent of police, and civil surgeon remained aloof
and indifferent throughout the sequence of events, hence allowing the
crime and subsequent manipulation of evidence '.
Who conducted the probe?
The investigation was conducted
by Ratnakar Gaikwad - Director- General of YASHADA and nodal officer,
SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) act 1989. The report was prepared by
Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute, Department of
Social Justice (GOM) and Centre for Equity and Social Justice (CESJ)
all of which are part of government .
What The Report Recommends
1. Negligent officers, instead
of being transferred/ suspended should be made co-accused. Inquiry under
Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 should be initiated against them.
They should be denied service benefits like pension and gratuity.
2. Atrocities on Dalits be
viewed on par with terrorism and the accused be dealt sternly under
provisions of a stringent act to control organized crime.
3. The government should
conduct a survey of all the villages to find out whether untouchability
is prevalent anywhere.
4. In case of reports against
discrimination or atrocities in a village local level functionaries
such as talathi, anganwadi worker, gramsevak, police patil etc. be suspended
5. A section on atrocities
be included in the school curriculum and teachers be given special training
on equity and social justice.
 Joshi Parikshit, 'Conspiracy of Silence' MumbaiMirror, December
4, 2006. pg. 1 and 4.
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