Two senior ministers of the Maharashtra cabinet on Saturday visited the Dalit victims of recent atrocities against the community in the state - the honour killing of a Dalit boy in Ahmednagar and the boycott of Dalits in Buldhana.
Tribal Affairs Minister Madhukar Pichad went to Kharada village in Ahmednagar and consoled the grieving family of Nitin R Aage, 17, who was killed and hanged from a tree last Monday following a love affair with a minor girl from an upper caste.
The hue and cry started after the boy was noticed talking to the girl in a field by some locals, including the girl's brother.
Later, a group of villagers allegedly waylaid him, assaulted him with sticks and strangled him before hanging him to a tree where he was found later by his family.
The state government has already announced a compensation of Rs.500,000 and a similar amount was given by the Nationalist Congress Party, Pichad said.
Police investigations resulted in the arrest of 11 people, including the girl's brother, who have been booked for murder and other charges, including Prevention of Atrocities Act and Protection of Civil Rights.
Later, the minister apprised Home Minister RR Patil of the issue who said that the murder trial would be conducted in a fast track court.
In a related development, Employment Guarantee and Water Conservation Minister Nitin Raut accompanied by SC and ST Commissioner C. L. Thul visited Belad village in Buldhana where the upper castes had imposed a boycott of the Dalits.
The duo held meetings with the villagers from both sides and warned of strict action like cutting off financial grants to the village panchayat.
Following the meetings, the village head announced the lifting of the boycott of Dalits.