Essay

Khairlanji, then and now

Brinda Karat

Khairlanji, the name of a village in Bhandara district of Maharashtra, evokes the power, brutality and arrogance of India‚Äôs caste system and the impunity enjoyed by its most cruel practitioners. It was here, on this date 10 years ago, that Surekha Bhotmange, a Dalit woman farmer, was killed along with her two sons, Roshan and Sudhir, who was visually disabled, and her 17-year-old daughter, Priyanka. Each of them had been subjected to the most horrible violence by members of the dominant OBC caste in this area, who now employ the same upper-caste hegemonic practices and methods against Dalits that they had been victims of, and which they had once fought against. The state refused to admit that the murder of four members of a Dalit family in Maharashtra was a caste crime. Ten years later, the demand for a repeal of the legal protection for Dalits can be heard. [Read more]