Communal riots in Rajasthan force Dalits to migrate

Husheypur (Rajasthan): Communal riots between Muslim and Dalits in this village of Alwar district of Rajasthan resulted in large scale exodus of Dalits to other places. The origin of this unfortunate situation started on 19 January when a resident of this village, Zahid Khan, was shot dead by a group of Dalits because a hen was crushed to death by his tractor.

A fight between his relatives and some Dalits resulted in large scale communal riots between people of the two communities who had been living together peacefully for several decades. Muslims of the village attacked and set on fire homes of many Dalits. Out of fear, people of Dalit community fled to other places for safety. After more than two weeks, only elderly women and small children returned to their destroyed homes but menfolk still remained out of the village as tension prevailed everywhere.

S.P. of Alwar Mahesh Goyal said that a committee including members of all communities was formed to resolve the tension and dispute and police is in touch with members of the Dalit community who are living at different places. The SP said that security has been provided to the people of Dalit community but those involved in shooting down of Zahid Khan are missing. It is not known how many were injured and arrested but, as always happens, sufferers are people of both communities.

Whereas Zahid Khan’s father Haji Kallu says that everyone, from government officers to social activists who come here ask us to maintain peace. ‘We want peace but how will I bring up my five grandchildren and other members of the family.’ He further says that government gave ex-gratia to those whose houses were ransacked ‘but no one asked me if I too need anything.’ From the other side, Kamla Devi says that ‘we were never a part of the violence but we also were targeted.’ She says that they looted cash and jewellery she had saved for her daughter Suman’s marriage in May but now she feels helpless.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 7

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