Fifteen people have been convicted and 82 acquitted by a Sessions court here in the much talked about Mirchpur killing case in which a physically challenged girl and her septuagenarian Dalit father were charred to death in neighbouring Haryana. In the ghastly incident of caste violence that rocked Haryana on April 21 last year, a mob belonging to the dominant Jat community had also burnt down 18 Dalit houses.

Three of the 15 have been convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They had set fire to the house in which Tara Chand and his daughter Suman had taken refuge. Six persons have been held guilty of setting other Dalit houses on fire and six others have been convicted for unlawful assembly and stone-throwing.

In a major relief to the accused, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau on Saturday ruled that the serious charges of murder, rioting, looting and criminal conspiracy could not be established beyond reasonable doubt.

Narnaud Police SHO Vinod Kumar Kajal, who was one of the accused in the case for allegedly exhorting the mob to burn down Dalit homes and alleged negligence of duties under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, was acquitted as the charges against him could not be proved.

The Supreme Court had ordered shifting of the case from Haryana to Delhi last December following apprehensions whether a fair trial would be conducted in the neighbouring State.

There was also fear for the safety of witnesses and lawyers appearing in the case.

A total of 68 prosecution witnesses including Tara Chand's wife, 44 defence witnesses, and one court witness – son of Tara Chand whom neither the prosecution nor the defence wanted to rely on -- were examined.

The trial against one person was separated after he absconded. Another five juvenile accused are to be tried by a Juvenile Justice Board in Hisar.

The arguments on sentencing are listed for September 29.