Man sentenced to six-year RI for abusing woman
Mumbai: In a decision that has given hope for justice to victims in the Khairlanji massacre, Bhandara district has recorded speedy conviction in a case under the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Purushottam Selokar, 41, resident of Walani in Paoni tehsil, was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for six years and imposed a fine of Rs. 4,000 for insulting and intimidating a person of the Scheduled Caste or Tribe. He was found guilty of an offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC and ST Act, 1989 and Sections 294 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. The case, heard in the special court of Justice P.K. Chavan from April, 30, 2007, was decided on February 14, 2008.
Superintendent of Police Suresh Sagar told The Hindu that it was not the first case to result in a conviction under the Act. Convictions had taken place before but they were rare, he pointed out. In 2006, fifty-two cases including the Khairlanji massacre were registered under the Act in Bhandara district alone.
On January 29, 2007, Purushottam Selokar’s wife Lalita and son Rakesh abused Vanita Maatey, her neighbour, in filthy language. The issue of contention was a bottle gourd creeper from Lalita’s house extending into Vanita’s courtyard. Vanita pruned the creeper, inviting abuse and assault from Lalita and her son.
When Selokar, working in a flour mill nearby, returned home, he abused Vanita and threatened to rape her in public. He allegedly said he would re-enact Khairlanji, where two women were killed in the most brutal manner after having been stripped. His abuses continued till the next day.
Vanita filed a complaint but the police did nothing and she later had to approach the SP with a written complaint. While the case was filed against Selokar, his wife and son, he alone was convicted. His wife and son were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence. However, while this case has resulted in a conviction, activists are critical of the slow pace at which the Khairlanji case is proceeding.