Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Six Dalit youths attacked, woman stripped

Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, November 12
The Haryana units of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party have condemned the incident in which a group of upper caste youths allegedly attacked the Harijan basti at Bhagwatipur village and beat up six Dalit youths with sticks and sharp-edged weapons on Sunday evening.

The assailants also allegedly stripped a Dalit woman who tried to intervene. Moreover, when the affected youths reached the police station to register a complaint, the cops on duty allegedly scolded them and directed them to reach a compromise.

Mr Tejvir Sen, general secretary of the state unit of the BSP, and Ms Kanta Alaria, state president of the Samajwadi Party, today threatened to launch a state-wide agitation if those responsible for the attack were not punished.

Narrating the harrowing incident, a Dalit youth admitted in the civil hospital here, Raj Karan, said that a Dalit boy, Sajjan Kumar (16), was engaged as a labourer in the village. He said the boy had fastened the lower edges of his shirt as it was devoid of buttons and was going to fetch a ‘biri’ from a nearby shop. He was intercepted by two upper caste youths on the way who allegedly objected to his dress and used abusive language. They also beat him up when he opposed the humiliation on caste lines.

Raj Karan said the Dalit boy challenged both the youths to beat him in his basti. After a few hours, both the assailants reached the Harijan basti along with their ten accomplices, armed with sticks and sharp-edged weapons in an inebriated condition. They reportedly dragged several Dalits out of their houses and beat them up for nearly three hours.

During the scuffle, they also allegedly tore the clothes of a Dalit woman and beat another woman, Darshana, who came to the other woman’s rescue. He said Dariao Singh, Manoj, Sombir, Gaje Singh and Raj Karan (all Dalits) sustained injuries and were admitted to the civil hospital here.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by the district police this afternoon said the incident was nothing but an outcome of children’s dispute over a trivial matter. The police said that no sharp-edged weapon was used in the scuffle and no woman was stripped in the incident. It also claimed that a compromise would soon be reached between both the parties.

Source: The Tribune, November 13, 2002


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