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Dalit-killers’ arrest invites violent protests
|New Delhi: The Haryana state government ordered the arrest of five persons at Sura village on November 13 allegedly for lynching five Dalits on October 16 at Duleena village in Jhajjar district, nearly 60 kms from New Delhi. These arrests led to widespread protests from villagers. They had the backing of local functionaries of Hindu fundamentalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists.
Sura village is situated near Duleena. When the news about the arrests spread in the area, agitated villagers blocked roads leading to the district headquarters. They pelted stones on police, barricaded the highways from uprooted trees and blocked vehicular movement They were demanding the unconditional release of all the arrested persons.
The district administration imposed prohibitory orders in Jhajjar town, and schools and colleges were ordered closed as a precautionary measure for a brief period (till November 15).
VHP and Bajrang Dal activists came out on the streets in Jhajjar town. They forced businessmen and shopkeepers to down the shutters. The VHP strongly protested any punitive action for the arrested person.
People from Sura and other neighbouring villages were spotted moving around with sticks and farm equipment which could be used as a weapon.
In clashes between the police and villagers, four policemen including a deputy superintendent, and four villagers were injured.
On November 14, a maha panchayat (large meeting) was called by the Guliya Khap community at Duleena village. Nearly 400 people participated in the meeting, which decided to start a dharna (sitting protest) from November 15. They said that the protests would continue till November 20 during which they will demand the release of the five arrested persons.
They threatened to snatch the weapons of the police if the arrested persons were not released.
Five hundred policemen reached the area from the neighbouring districts. Under the prohibitory laws, more than four people are not allowed to gather at one place. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mohinder Kumar said, "We are in a position to deal with any situation and will not be cowed down by these threats. Wherever the villagers have blocked or will block a road, we will post a magistrate and a DSP."
The five Dalits were done to death by caste Hindus for skinning a dead cow on October 15, before a police post as 50 policemen, a city magistrate, a deputy superintendent of police and a handful of other government officials watched silently.
¯ MG Correspondent