7 Dalits burnt alive in Karnataka caste clash

KOLAR: Seven persons, including three women, were burnt alive and one person was stabbed to death in a major flare-up of caste-related violence at Kambalpally village in Karnataka's Kolar district on Saturday night, police said on Sunday.

A frenzied mob of about 200 poured kerosene and set ablaze a hut and two houses in a Dalit colony, leaving seven people dead, in apparent retaliation to the fatal stabbing of an upper caste man allegedly by a 15-member Dalit group. Police said the caste Hindu group suspected that the assailants who stabbed the man hid in the hut.

The Karnataka government announced a judicial enquiry by a sitting or retired high court judge into the incident after chief minister S M Krishna and home minister Mallikarjun Kharge visited the trouble spot.

Kharge, who made an announcement on the judicial probe in Bangalore on his return from Kambalpally, told reporters that 18 persons had been arrested in connection with the incident and the situation was now under control.

Additional police forces had been rushed to the village, besides deployment of seven platoons of Karnataka state reserve police. Kambalpally is near Billalahalli where three policemen were killed in 1997 when they went to prevent a caste conflict.

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