The killing of four Dalits of the Bhotmange family in Khairlanji is spine chilling. That such a heinous crime has affected us much less than it should have is disgraceful and a matter of shame. All that we are proud of becomes meaningless when such inhuman acts continue to be perpetrated against a section of our own people. Those responsible for the atrocity should be punished in a manner that will send a strong signal that such barbarities will not be tolerated.
That an entire village reportedly enforced the killing as punishment puts jungle law to shame. Khairlanji speaks volumes about the depth of the social malady of caste prejudice and sick minds. This one incident should have stopped the nation dead in its tracks. But it is not even the main news in many newspapers. Are we inherently so insensitive as a nation?
Khairlanji and the reported gangrape of two Dalit women at Lakhanpur Sonedipi village in Bihar, miles away from Maharashtra, show that oppression of Dalits is still widely prevalent in India. What aggravates the situation is the partisan behaviour of the law-enforcing authorities who more often than not cover up for the perpetrators. The need of the hour is to ensure rapid educational and economic progress of Dalits and launch social reforms to eliminate untouchability from people's minds.