Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jhajjar: panchayat called today
Villagers ‘reluctant’ to court arrest
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 21
Apparently unhappy over the agreement between the district administration and the Dulina Goraksha Sangharsh Samiti, residents of Suhra and adjoining villages have called yet another panchayat tomorrow at Suhra village, which would be held before a scheduled meeting with Mr Nafe Singh Rathee, MLA from Bahadurgarh, chief broker in the agreement.

It is learnt that the villages of Suhra, Kaloi, and Silana villages are reluctant to court arrest in connection with the lynching of five Dalits in Dulina on October 15. However, the panchayats of these villages were on the move in their bid to organise another panchayat after they come to know that the arrest of 40 persons from these villages is on the cards as per the agreement. They have also sought a meeting with Mr Rathee also scheduled for tomorrow.

Acharya Vijay Pal of Jhajjar Gurukul said here today that the samiti had decided to hold the panchayat tomorrow and he along with other members of the samiti would attend it.

According to information, 24 villages have been invited to the panchayat, which will be uproarious as many dissenting voices are expected to speak.

However, Acharya Vijaypal said the panchayat would select a five-member delegation, which would call on the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, regarding the demands raised by them during the talks to call-off the agitation.

The Acharya, however, made it clear that if the villagers refuse to surrender before the law as per the agreement, the samiti would not oppose police action and subsequent forcible arrests. He held that the samiti would try to persuade the accused to voluntarily come forward and court arrest. He said they were in the process of identifying the accused of the lynching incident.

In a related development, two sarpanches of Silani village Jagbir Singh and Dayanand issued their statements denying that 10 persons from Silani had to surrender. They maintained that as no representative from the village was involved in the talks held between the district administration and the samiti, their village was not bound to accede to the conditions of the agreement, and nobody would surrender from their village.

Meanwhile, Mr Rathee, while talking to Tribune, stated that the samiti sought another meeting with him tomorrow as some villagers of Suhra and other affected village were keen to call on him. He said these persons might be relatives of the accused in the lynching incident, but the agenda for the meeting was not known to him.

Sources however, held that as the ball was in the samiti’s court now, it was unlikely that it would backtrack on the agreement even if the villagers refused to budge under the samiti’s directions to surrender. In that case, these sources added that the agreement might peter out and more police-villagers’ clashes could occur in future.

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