Andhra to challenge acquittal of accused in Dalits massacre case

Hyderabad, April 27 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh will challenge in the Supreme Court an order of the state high court acquitting all 56 accused in Dalits massacre case, said state police chief B. Prasada Rao.

The director general of police told reporters here Sunday that the state will soon file a special leave petition (SLP) against the high court judgment.

The high court on April 22 set aside an order of a special court, which had sentenced 21 people to life imprisonment and 35 others to one year's jail for 1991 massacre of Dalits in Guntur district.

The DGP said the high court found gaps in the evidence against the accused. He, however, declined to comment further saying he needs to go through the judgment. He did not agree that it was the failure of the police which led to the acquittal.

The high court had pronounced its judgment on petitioned filed by the convicts challenging the special court's order in what is known as Tsundur massacre case.

In 2007, a special court had sentenced 21 to life imprisonment and 35 other accused to one year's rigorous imprisonment. It had also acquitted 123 other accused for lack of evidence.

Eight Dalits were killed and several others were injured allegedly by upper caste people on Aug 6, 1991 at Tsundur village in Guntur district, about 350 kms from Hyderabad.The houses of Dalits were looted and set afire and several families were forced to flee from Tsundur and adjoining villages.

Police had filed a chargesheet against 219 accused, out of whom 33 people died during the course of the hearing and seven were let off as police did not find any evidence against them.