Honour killings were on rise in Maharashtra too, activists claimed here today.
"We associate honour killings with the states such as Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar due to the dominance of Khap panchayat over there, but in Maharashtra too incidents of honour killing have been increasing," said journalist Jatin Desai.
Desai is a member of Dalit Intellectual Collective which has prepared a fact-finding report on Sonai murders and an attack on a Dalit couple in Satara district.
Three youths from the Mehtar-Valmiki community were killed at Sonai in Ahmednagar district in January following an inter-caste love affair.
Desai further alleged that investigation in the cases of atrocities against Dalits in the districts of Ahmednagar, Satara and Pune (where a Dalit RTI activist was killed recently) was often slow.
"The government should form a new category so that honour killing cases can be identified," Desai said, adding, the government should deal with these cases sternly.
He also said that such cases were on the rise as Dalits were getting educated and had begun to pull themselves out of poverty in rural areas.
Babanrao Pachpute, the Guardian Minister for Ahmednagar district who also holds the Tribal Welfare portfolio did not visit Sonai after the murders, he said.
"Role of police in all these cases is suspicious. Even after the gruesome killing of four members of Dalit family at Khairlanji in 2006, the government has not shown any seriousness about tackling the issue," said activist and journalist Subodh More, another member of the fact-finding committee.