Still hoping for justice for Kambalapalli carnage

Venkatarayappa lost five members of his family in the carnage in 2000.

Venkatarayappa lost five members of his family in the carnage in 2000.  


Main witness in the case, Venkatarayappa, has passed away

Justice eluded Venkatarayappa who lost five members of his family in a carnage of Dalits in his village, Kambalapalli, 18 years ago. He passed away on Tuesday.

Venkatarayappa was 61 when on the night of March 11, 2000, seven people were burnt alive by ‘upper’ caste people. Five of them were Venkatarayappa’s relatives — wife, a daughter, two sons, and a sister. The incident at Kambalapalli in Chintamani taluk of undivided Kolar district had then created a national outrage.

Except for relocation of Dalits of Kambalapalli to Mini-Kambalapalli near Chintamani town in Chickballapur district and providing some benefits such as land, the socially downtrodden families did not get justice in the form of punishment to the perpetrators of the crime, feel Dalit activists who fought for justice in the case.

In the apex court

However, they are still hopeful of winning the case in the highest court of justice of the land — the Supreme Court where the State government’s appeal against the High Court’s verdict is pending.

The High Court of Karnataka had upheld the verdict of the Kolar District and Sessions Court which acquitted all the 32 accused in the case in 2006. Following the outcry by Dalit outfits and other progressive organisations, the State government took up the case to the apex court.

“Though the main witness Venkatarayappa is no more, some other witnesses are alive and are ready to testify,” N. Venkatesh, State coordinator of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Stating that the apex court was the only ray of hope left with, Mr. Venkatesh wanted the court to send a special team to study the matter which, according to him, may help deliver justice to Dalits.

Senior advocate M.N. Rao’s appointment in the case by the State government has raised the expectation, he added.

Kotiganahalli Ramaiah, writer, said, “If justice is not done in the Kambalapalli case, what is the meaning for big talks about social justice and spending thousands of crores of rupees for the welfare of Dalits?”

Last rites performed

Meanwhile, the last rites of Venkatarayappa were performed on Wednesday at Kambalapalli in the presence of his family members and a number of Dalit activists.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:30:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/still-hoping-for-justice-for-kambalapalli-carnage/article18149570.ece

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