Friday, November 22, 2002

Jhajjar: Cops did the killing, Oppn tells Lok Sabha

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21: The five Dalits who died in Jhajjar last month were killed by Haryana police, who passed it off as an incident of mob violence, agitated Opposition members said in the Lok Sabha today.

The uproar prompted Speaker Manohar Joshi to say that the House would discuss the Jhajjar incident - first reported in The Indian Express - at length soon and a reply would be sought from the Home Minister since it was a serious matter.

Samajwadi Party member Ramji Lal Suman and Lok Janshakti leader Ram Vilas Paswan told the House during Zero Hour that the police had concocted a story about the Dalits being killed by a mob for lynching a cow. They targetted local leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal for aiding the police cover-up.

Taking strong exception to VHP leader Giriraj Kishore's statement that the life of a cow was more precious than that of a human being, Suman said the police had killed the Dalits because they'd refused to cough up money.

Paswan said he visited the village a day after the incident and could find neither the remains of the cow nor the instrument allegedly used to skin it. Drawing the attention of the House to atrocities against Dalits in Bihar as well, Paswan said people would lose faith in the administration if such acts continued.

Ramdas Athawale, an Independent member, warned of a Dalit retaliation if the authorities did not act against the guilty policemen. Buta Singh (Congress) said the cow-killing story had been fabricated as no animal was found dead on the spot. Calling the state government probe a ''cover up,'' he demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident.

BJP's Vijay Kumar Malhotra agreed with the Opposition and said the killing of the Dalits was a shameful incident. He too was for a full probe into the incident. As more and more members wanted to raise the matter, Speaker Manohar Joshi intervened. ''This is a serious issue. There should be a discussion on this at the earliest and the Home Minister should reply,'' he said.

Source: The Indian Express, November 22, 2002

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