Sunday, November 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Dalits attacked in Panipat village
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, November 16
Close on the heels of the lynching of five Dalits in Dulina of Jhajjar district, houses of about 25 Dalits and members of a minority community were vandalised and several women assaulted and injured at Nawada Aar village, 22 km from here on the UP-Haryana border, allegedly by hooligans of upper castes in the wee hours of yesterday.

And reportedly instead of booking the alleged attackers, the police has been “shielding” the guilty and working out a compromise between the two parties.

According to information, the nightmare for the families began when several unidentified armed persons, brought by the influential persons of Kurad,Sanoli Khurd and Nawada Aar villages, descended on the village on two tractor-trailers and allegedly dragged the menfolk out of their houses. These armed men then “ordered” the families to vacate houses. The attackers went berserk and vandalised the houses, breaking the household items. In fact, one of the houses was completely demolished and walls of several others pulled down. Even as the terrified men were asked to line up outside houses, the women, who tried to resist were assaulted and as a result five women were injured. The hapless victims were tortured for occupying the “shamlat land.”

It may be recalled that till 1975 these families had been living in Nawada Par, which was at slightly lower altitude than the adjoining villages. In the monsoons, Nawada Par used to get flooded and as a safety measure the administration shifted these families to Nawada Aar on the “shamlat land”. During the past several years, the influential persons had been eyeing the prime “shamlat land” whose prices had shot up during the past several years, and Friday’s incident is the latest in that series.

Meanwhile, various parties, while condemning the incident, have blamed the Chautala government for the incident saying that law and order had collapsed in the state.

The Leader of Opposition, Mr Bhupinder Hooda, said he would raise the matter in the Assembly. The state BJP chief, Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, expressed concern at the safety and security of the Dalits and Muslims in the state.

Mr Raghbir Chaudhary, state Secretary of the CPI, who visited Nawada Aar, alleged that panic had gripped the area and minorities and Dalits lived in constant fear. The general secretary of the Samaj Shakti Party, Dr Narinder Kumar, threatened to bring the matter to the National Commission for SCs and STs.

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