Friday, June 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

12 hurt in Jat-Dalit clash
Curfew in Talhan, violence spreads to Jalandhar
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

A scene of caste clash in Talhan village of Jalandhar district on Wednesday
A scene of caste clash in Talhan village of Jalandhar district on Wednesday

Talhan (Jalandhar), June 5
The two month-long tension between Jats and Dalits of this village, 15 km from here, took a violent turn today as armed clashes between members of the two communities resulted in injuries to nearly 12 persons. A large number of houses, vehicles and property were damaged, forcing the district administration to clamp indefinite curfew in the village after the failure of the police to control the violence. The violence even continued after the imposition of the curfew.

The village, which was in news for over two months for unprecedented Dalit-Jat divide which erupted over the control of management of a village ‘samadh’, virtually got converted into a battlefield when two groups of youths of Dalits and Jats took to armed clash after a brief verbal duel at around 2 p.m. in the presence of police officials. At that time an annual fair was in progress at the ‘mazaar’ of Pir Baba Fateh Shah. As nearly 25 to 30 police officials deputed at the ‘mazaar’ failed to handle the situation, the violence broke out on a large scale, engulfing the entire village, where about 10 houses were damaged and a cane-juice extraction unit, a harvester and a number of two-wheelers were put on fire by the agitated armed groups of youths, belonging to both communities.

Though senior police officials, including Mr Shammi Kumar, SP (Headquarters), tried their best to pacifying the irate crowd at the initial stage, but the situation turned out of control as groups of youngsters and mob resorted to open brandishing of arms, including swords and brick-bating, which left nearly 10 persons, including five policemen, injured. Two persons were reportedly stabbed with “kirpans”, while another identified as Boota Ram was admitted to the local Civil Hospital in a serious condition. The mob even attacked the police party led by Mr Shammi Kumar and Mr Rakesh Kaushal, both SPs. The situation came under control to some extent only when the police parties resorted to lathicharge and teargas. This was followed by imposition of the curfew by the District Magistrate, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, after monitoring the situation.

Leaders of both communities made allegations and counter-allegations against each other. Interestingly, both groups accused the police of remaining a “mute spectator” to the situation. Dalit leaders namely Mr Vijay Sampla, vice-president of the state unit of the BJP, and Mr Chanan Ram Pal, president of the Dalit Action Committee, alleged that the problem started when some police officials “manhandled” a group of Dalits standing near the stage at the fair at the instance of some youths belonging to the Jat Sikh community. Dalit youths opposed their action, which was followed by beating of Dalits by the police. On the other hand, Jat leaders namely Mr Bhupinder Singh, a member of the Talhan Gurdwara Committee, and Mr Jaswant Singh, a former sarpanch of Nangal Fateh Khan village, alleged that it were the Dalits who first challenged Jat Sikhs and broke down speakers. “At the first instance our three persons were injured,” alleged the two leaders. About 10 houses, mostly belonging to members of the Dalits were damaged by the mob, which also damaged two-wheelers, harvester and a cane-juice extraction unit.

The damaged houses belonged to Mr Hari Ram, Mohan Lal, Avtaar Chand, and Mr Lachman Dass, an NRI.



1 killed in police firing

Jalandhar, June 5
Vijay Kumar Kala, a resident of the Buta Mandi area, was killed and four were injured in police firing here late tonight.

The injured have been identified as Mr Puran Chand, Mr Balwinder Kumar, Mr Laxman Das and Mr Sudhir Kumar. Vijay Kumar was declared brought dead at the local Civil Hospital late in the night.

Earlier, irked over developments in nearby Talhan village, about 1,000 Dalit youths set afire a Moga-bound Himachal Roadways bus and torched a fire tender, apart from pelting a Punjab police bus with stones at Buta Mandi here late in the night.

Youths in the Dalit-dominated Buta Mandi area took to streets after they saw clips of a clash between the Dalits and Jat Sikhs in Talhan village this evening on a local TV channel. They raised slogans against the police and the administration for its failure to control the situation. Armed with lathis and stones, they stopped a Himachal Roadways bus near the Ravidass chowk and set it afire after forcing the passengers to leave the bus. Later, they torched a fire tender and smashed window panes of a Punjab police bus. TNS


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |