Thursday, October 16, 2003

Yr after Jhajjar lynching, accused roaming freely


NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 15: A year ago, five Dalits were lynched in Jhajjar. Today, when one of the victims' 82-year-old father came up to former PM I.K. Gujral and said ''they were waiting for justice'', he did not know where to look. ''I have been a PM, but when they say this, I don't have the courage to look them in the eye. They hold the mirror of truth to me and I am embarrassed,'' said Gujral at a meeting organised by Dalit activist Udit Raj's Indian Justice Party.

The reason for Gujral's embarrassment was the fact that even after a year, all the accused are out on bail. The victims' families, who had come to Delhi for the meeting, said they had given up hope. ''We are scared to approach anyone, they (accused) have godfathers right at the top,'' said Ratan Singh, father of 23-year-old Virender who was killed.

The topic of discussion was 'Dalit versus cow'. On October 15 last year, Virender and his friends Kailash, Dayachand, Totaram and Raju were en route to Karnal with a cow carcass. They were stopped outside the police station at Dulina and word spread that they had ''slaughtered and were skinning a cow''. A mob gathered and under the nose of police, they were beaten to death. Though the victims' kin have been given Rs 5 lakh in compensation and their families given Class IV jobs, they say they cannot rest in peace till they see the accused behind bars.

Source: The Indian Express, October 16, 2003


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