April 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India
200 Dalits forced to leave village
New Delhi, April 26
"We were forced to leave our homes in March and we do not know when we would be able to return to our homes," Lal Singh, a panch of Harsoula village in Kaithal district, told newspersons here today.
He said the community was first attacked on February 11 and the members of the community returned to the village following the intervention of the administration.
However, the truce was broken on March 20, when the dominant community again attacked the Dailts, he alleged.
The panch of the village said their representations to the SC/ST Commission had evoked a little response nor there had been any action to the memorandum submitted to the Haryana Chief Minister.
The root cause of the attack on the Dalits, he alleged was a minor scuffle that took place between some Dalits and Jat youth as preparations were underway for the Ravidas Jayanti celebrations in February.
While the displaced villagers and the panchayat member maintained that the isolated incident was the cause of the ire of the dominant community in the village, their narration of the incident indicated that the two community did not enjoy cordial relations in the past.
The Dalits demanded that the SC/ST Commission sent a fact finding team to the village and urged the administration to provide protection to the Dalits, which could pave the way for their return.
Mangat Ram Sahotra of the Dalit Mukti Sangathan, who went on a fact-finding mission to the village, said the Dalit colony looks like a haunted place. Empty lanes and empty houses unfold the sufferings of the Dalits who are right now scattered in different parts of Kaithal resulting in number of children skipping school examination.
Even though 19.75 per cent of Haryana population is of Dalits, the state does not have special court to deal with the atrocities on Dalits, he added.
Recently, five Dailts in Dulina in Jhajjar district were lynched for allegedly skinning a cow. The incident evoked widespread condemnation and brought out the underlying tension between the dominant Jat community and the Dalits in the state.
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