Scared of khap terror, Dalits flee Mirchpur village

published on April 25, 2010

Ajeet Singh | Hisar – Daily Pioneer

Despite the Haryana Government’s efforts to normalise the situation in the violence-hit Mirchpur village of Hisar district, about 150 members of 34 Dalit families have left the village and taken shelter at Balmiki Dharamshala in the district.

Saying it was impossible for them to live under constant threat and tension, the Dalits wanted the administration to rehabilitate them at a safer place. Heavy police security in the village and the personal efforts of Hisar Deputy Commissioner OP Sheoran failed to convince them.

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) chairman Buta Singh and representatives of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Integration Council (NIC) had assured the Dalit families that they would be rehabilitated, compensated and given full security and justice by the administration.

On Wednesday, a group of upper caste men had set on fire about 20 houses in a Dalit locality, killing physically challenged Suman (18) and her father Tara Chand (70).

Meanwhile, the administration has distributed a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the victims’ next of kin.

Although the three families who had left Mirchpur after the incident returned in a couple of days, the strident tone of the members of the khap panchayat — which was held on Saturday — shooktheir confidence. They decided to leave the village en masse. Fear was writ large on their faces and they traveled on foot up to Barwala town and took mini-trucks and four-wheelers to reach Hisar by evening.

The khap panchayat, comprising representatives from 37 khaps, was held under the chairmanship of Rajbir Dhanda. The meeting asked the Government to release all those arrested and withdraw of cases filed against the SHO and the tehsildar of Narnaund in connection with the incident. The panchayat also demanded a CBI or CID inquiry into the incident. The leaders also alleged that the police was harassing innocents.

The police have arrested 29 persons so far. They have provided a list of 45 persons to Rajbir Dhanda to hand them over the police. The khap also demanded registration of cases against Dalit youth for hurling stones and firing at upper caste and announced another Khap Mahapanchayat on May 9 to review the situation and take follow-up action.

Kamla, who lost her daughter and husband in the fire on Wednesday, is among those who fled the village. “I have lost everything in Mirchpur and do not want any harm coming to my three sons. I don’t even have a photograph of my daughter as all were burnt inside the house. My children feel scared and cry whenever they see a group of people coming,” she told mediapersons.

Vir Bhan, a member of Mirchpur gram panchayat, has come out of the village with his family. He was among the two members of the Balmiki community who had gone to apologise before the upper caste people to diffuse the tension. But they were badly beaten up and hospitalised.

Those taking shelter at Balmiki Dharamshala in Hisar include the families of Ramnivas, Satyavan, Kuldip, Mukesh, Omprakash , Naresh, Sanjay, Surjit, Raju, Suresh Jaibhagwan, Sandip, Banni, Dharambir, Mahender, Ramphal, Jugti, Gurmit, Amit, Pala, Balwan and Sundar. They said they had already sent their children to their relatives in other villages. Some youth said they had lost their certificates in the fire and do not know how to get duplicate certificates.

Meanwhile, the meeting of khap panchayats on Saturday demanded amendments in the Hindu Marriage Act to prevent marriages within the gotra and village.

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