Friday, November 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jhajjar villagers block roads
Our Correspondent

Suhra (Jhajjar), November 14
The scene has shifted from Dulina to nearby Suhra village, 2 km from Dulina, and the focus seems to have changed from the cow to the man. “Release our men immediately” was a warning issued by the panchayat of 24 villages in Suhra village, held amidst tension and fear of a police crackdown.

In the session, attended by around 300 villagers, which started at 12 in the noon and lasted till evening, a 21-member committee of the panchayat headed by Mr Chitamber Gour, VHP district Mahantri, announced to block all roads in the district till November 20. It was decided that if the five persons arrested in connection with the lynching of five Dalits were not released similar action would be launched statewide. They reiterated their earlier statement that victims in Dulina were butchers and the people returning after the Dasehra celebrations could not keep their cool on seeing a cow being skinned in the open.

However, tension prevailed in the town, especially in adjoining Suhra, Dulina, Gudha, Koloi, Jahagirpur and Silani villages. The Rewari road and Kosli road remained blocked throughout the day as people felled trees and placed these across the roads.

Mr Mohammad Akil, SSP, said the situation was under control and the police had been deployed on all sensitive points. He said six additional companies of the police were present in the district. Heavy police arrangement was made on the Gurgaon road 2 km from Suhra.

Mr Mohinder Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said so far no untoward incident had been reported from anywhere in the district.

When a team of mediapersons reached the panchayat venue, people showed their resentment. The leaders of the panchayat, including Acharya Baldev and Acharya Vijaipal, accused the Press of blowing the issue out of proportion and creating fissures in the society by treating it as Dalits verses Swaran issue. All kinds of rumours including murder of some villagers, were doing the rounds in the village.

An elderly woman standing in a group inside the village, reacting to the issue said the police had gheraoed the entire village”. She said some plainclothesmen entered many houses in the villages introducing themselves as power employees and picked up their sleeping boys.” These women said some of the arrested persons were not even present in the district on that day.

However, police sources on condition of anonymity disclosed that some more arrests were expected, but maintained that they would wait till the charged atmosphere cooled down. These sources said the police parties also raided the houses of some bigwigs, who allegedly led and incited the mob.

The SSP today denied that any firing took place yesterday. He said the five arrested persons were sent to Rohtak jail in judicial custody. He added that another three persons arrested in yesterday’s clashes, would also be scrutinised whether they were also present in the mob in Dulina.

However, Dalit woman Sarpanch of Shra village Mayawati squarely blamed the police for the killings saying that now when the police was arresting innocent Dalits, no political leader was coming forward to help. She held that this was not a Dalit versus Swaran issue.

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