Una Dalit flogging
People from India's low-caste community block traffic during a protest against the flogging of four men accused of skinning a cow, in Ahmedabad, India, July 20, 2016.Reuters

The Delhi High Court on Friday, Aug 24 convicted 20 people in the Mirchpur dalits killing case where a 60-year-old dalit man and his physically-challenged daughter were burnt alive by Jat community in Haryana's Hisar district in 2010.

According to reports, the court also dismissed the appeal of 13 convicts in this case. This case was explained as an example for atrocities against Scheduled Castes as it had led to the eventual displacement of 254 Dalit families from Mirchpur village.

The court said that "71 years after Independence, instances of atrocities against scheduled castes by those belonging to dominant castes have shown no sign of abating."

"The incidents that took place in Mirchpur between April 19-21, 2010 serve as yet another grim reminder of "the complete absence of two things in Indian society" as noted by Dr B R Ambedkar when he tabled the final draft of the Constitution of India before the Constituent Assembly on November 25 1949," a bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta said.

The HC sentenced 12 out of 33 convicts to life imprisonment for the offences, including murder under the IPC and committing mischief by fire or explosive substance by a member of a community other than SC/ST, intending to cause damage property of a member of the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe community under the SC/ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act.

The bench also noted the Government of Haryana has sought to rehabilitate the displaced families not in Mirchpur but in a separate township terming it as "a sobering fact." "The question is whether this accords with the constitutional promise of equality, social justice and fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual," the court said in the 209-page order.

A total of 15 accused, belonging to the Jat community, were tried and held guilty in the case by the trial court. Two of them died during the pendency of the appeal. A total of 97 accused were facing trial in the case. The attack followed a dispute between members of the Jat and Dalit communities of the village.

(With inputs from PTI)