Monday, December 16, 2002

Another attack on Dalits

Pradeep Sharma

Panipat, December 15

Despite assurances by the district administration, the Dalits and the Muslims of Nawada Aar village, 22 km from here on the Haryana-UP border were attacked yet again yesterday allegedly by hooligans hired by the upper caste leaving five persons injured.

Even as the latest attack on the Dalits has spread panic among the Dalits and the Muslims of the village, the incident has dealt another blow to the image of the local administration and the police. With this, the "compromise" between the Dalits and the upper caste, which was effected by the administration after the November 14 attack on the Dalits in which several Dalits has run into rough weather. According to the "compromise", the Dalits had been allowed to construct a street on a stretch of land and assured of security.

According to eyewitnesses, the hooligans, allegedly hired by certain persons from the upper caste, attacked the Dalits and the Muslims living in Nawada Aar. They had also allegedly damaged their property. However, the police acted rather swiftly this time and registered cases against Gordhan, an influential resident of the area, and another person.

Till 1975, these Dalit and Muslim families had been living in Nawada Aar, which was at slightly lower height than the adjoining villages. During the monsoon, Nawada Aar would get flooded. As a safety measure, the administration shifted these families to a safer place on the shamlat land in Nawada Aar. During the past several years, certain influential persons had allegedly been eyeing the prime shamlat land whose prices shot up during the past several years.

Meanwhile, a BSP team, led by the Haryana unit chief, Mr Ashok Sherwal, and the local district president of the unit, Mr Randhir Singh, which visited the village today, while demanding strict action against the guilty, blamed the local administration for the second attack on the hapless families in about a month.

Source: The Tribune, December 16, 2002

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