Mumbai: The Nashik sessions court, while sentencing the convicts in the Sonai killings case, on Saturday observed that there is no room for caste prejudices and they should be curbed. According to special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, the court was of the opinion that people who flaunt their superiority through violence should not be allowed to roam scot-free.
Speaking about the judgment wherein the court handed out the death penalty to six convicts belonging to an upper caste community for the brutal murder of three dalit youths on January 1, 2013 as one of them was having an affair with the daughter of a convict, Mr Nikam said, “The court was of the opinion that caste prejudices ought to be checked, like one curbs the spread of a malignant disease.”
Mr Nikam further said that the court also opined that persons who flaunt the ‘superiority’ of their caste by keeping up an unfair status quo through means of violence and other means of spreading hatred should not be allowed to roam scot-free. During arguments, Mr Nikam had also demanded the death penalty for the convicts as they had hatched a conspiracy to kill a boy from the backward caste as he fell in love with a girl from a higher caste and both wanted to get married.
Mr Nikam had termed the murders as a cruel reminder of prevailing caste prejudices.
The court also ordered the sale of the convicts’ mobile phones, SIM cards and various other articles via a public auction after the high court confirms the death order passed by the sessions court and expiry of the appeal period. The court granted the convicts 30 days to appeal against the death penalty.
The three victims Sachin Gharu (24), Sandeep Thanvar (25) and Tilak Raju Kandare (20), who were sanitary workers belonging to the Mehtar community, were brutally murdered by the accused — Ramesh Darandale, Prakash Darandale, Popat alias Ragunath Darandale, Ganesh alias Praveen Darandale, Sandeep Kurhe and Ashok Phalke. Gharu was having an affair with Popat’s daughter, while she was studying in a college in Nevasa Phata in Nevasa tehsil.
Timeline of the case
- January 1, 2013: Sandeep Thanwar and two others are killed and their bodies chopped and thrown in borewells.
- Janaury 3, 2013: FIR is registered
- January 9, 2013: Police arrests two members of the Darandale family and an accomplice
- February 5, 2013: Police arrests two others
- 2017: Trial is underway in Ahmednagar
- January 15, 2018: Six get convicted for murder, one is acquitted
Capital punishment in the state
- November 2017: A special court in Ahmednagar sentenced three for raping and murdering a minor girl.
- September 2017: A special court sentenced to death Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan and Taher Merchant for their role in the 1993 blasts.
- September 2015: A trial court pronounced the death sentence for convicts of the 7/11 train blasts case.
- April 2014: The Mumbai sessions court sentenced to death three convicts in the Shakti Mills rape.
- February 2012: The Bombay high court upheld the death sentence for convicts of the 2003 blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar.
- June 2001: Two were given death sentence for kidnapping and killing 12 children in the state.