Gujarat court gives life sentence to 11 accused in lynching case

On September 13, 2012, 11 men gathered outside the house of 27-year-old Lalji Sarvaiya, a Dalit man, locked him inside, poured kerosene and set the house on fire, burning him to death. Six years after the murder, the court in Gir-Somnath district of Gujarat sentenced the 11 accused people to life imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 54,500 on each of them. Additional District Judge S L Thakkar, who pronounced the judgement called the case “rarest of rare”, considering that the accused have been in jail since 2012. The Judge also mentioned that none of the convicts will be entitled for remission of sentence. Sarvaiya worked in a stone quarry, and lived in Ankolali village in Una Taluka, Gujarat. His was the only Dalit family in the village. He had applied for a mining license, but some of his fellow villagers did not want him to get it. While elaborating on the sequence of events, the family’s lawyer Govind Parmar (associated with HRLN) said that the one of the accused, Dhiru Koli falsely accused Sarvaiya had kidnapped his daughter and hid her in his house. The accused cited this reason for the attack. Other accused persons include Bhana Koli, Babu Koli, Bhika Koli, Ram Koli, Pancha Koli, Hamir Koli, Gabhru Koli, Pravin Koli, Lalji Koli and Arjan Koli. They were found guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy, among other charges.