Thursday, August 14, 2003

48 dalits injured in UP caste clash

As many as 48 dalits were on Wednesday injured in a clash with upper caste Thakurs in Tajopur village in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Mau district. "Six of the injured are critical," state home secretary Raja Ram told mediapersons in Lucknow.

It was described as the first major caste clash in UP since Mayawati, a dalit, assumed office as chief minister about 17 months ago. Ironically, it took place just 48 hours before the Independence Day celebrations.

According to Ram, the clash took place following an attempt by a group of Thakurs to plough a large plot of land, officially allotted to some landless dalits under a special scheme for the landless. "The dalits resisted the Thakurs, who opened fire injuring 48 persons," he said.

"Thakurs say the land belongs to them but the government has identified it as that belonging to the local village committee over which the state enjoys sovereign right," Ram said.

Ten persons have been arrested in connection with the clash, Mau Superintendent of Police Piyush Modia told rediff.com over telephone.

Meanwhile, the government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 to each of the seriously injured and Rs 20,000 to the others.

Source: Rediff.com, August 14, 2003

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