Mirchpur violence: Jat protest enters 10th day

Monday, January 24, 2011

JIND - Protests by Jats - over their demand for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into last year’s Mirchpur caste violence - entered the 10th day Monday, with community members blocking rail and road traffic.

Jat protestors have blocked the Delhi-Ferozepur railway line near Jind railway station and all highways and road links leading to Jind, cutting off this district from the rest of Haryana. They are also blocking important rail lines and highways in Hisar, Fatehabad and Rohtak districts.

The Jat mahapanchayat, a congregation of 42 khap panchayats, has demanded a fresh Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Mirchpur caste violence in which an elderly Dalit man and his daughter were killed.

Besides, the protesters have also sought shifting of the court trial from New Delhi to Hisar and the release of arrested Jat youths.

Protestors have set a deadline till Monday evening for the state government to accept their demands.

If the state government does not accept our demands till Monday evening then we will intensify our campaign. All our demands are legal and they should have no problem in accepting them, said Suresh Koth, secretary of the Jat Mahapanchayat.

If our demands are not met, we will boycott Republic Day celebrations. We would mark it as ‘black day’.

Besides a heavy posse of policemen, six companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in Jind and Hisar districts to tackle any kind of emergency situation.

We are evaluating the situation and very soon we will take some stern step. We cannot allow them to block rail and road traffic like this as it is causing a big problem for the common man, Ram Singh Bishnoi, Jind superintendent of police, told IANS.

The state government has agreed to refer the case to the CBI, but the protesting Jats have now started demanding a probe by the SIT into the Mirchpur incident.

Mirchpur village in Hisar district hit the headlines last year when some from the dominant upper caste Jat community set fire to a row of houses of Dalit (Balmiki) families April 21 last year.

A 70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physically-challenged daughter were killed in the fire in their home and at least 18 houses were destroyed in the attack.

As many as 150 Dalit families were driven out of the village, about 300 km from Chandigarh, and their homes were torched.

The trial of the youth accused of the arson attack was shifted to New Delhi in December on the directions of the Supreme Court.

A total of 98 Jat youths were arrested in the case and are currently lodged in a jail in New Delhi.

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