M A I N   N E W S

None will be spared: CM
Relatives visit smouldering houses at Gohana
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gohana, September 1
Peace prevailed in this subdivisional town today after yesterday’s violence in which several houses of the Dalits were torched in Balmiki Colony here yesterday.
However, the presence of hundreds of mediapersons and visits by politicians of all kept creating sporadic commotion at Baroda Chowk where the torched Balmiki Colony is located.

Policemen guarded the narrow lanes of the colony and only visiting politicians, mediapersons and relatives of the victims were allowed to visit the smouldering houses. Not many victims were present in the colony as they were still reported to be in the shelter of relatives and friends in the nearby towns.

The Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, visited the town in the evening despite his indisposition. He had been admitted to a Delhi hospital yesterday. He arrived here from Delhi and after conferring with senior officers at Canal Rest House, he spent about half-an-hour in Balmiki Colony to assess the situation.

Mr Hooda announced that he would approach the Election Commission for permission to announce compensation for the victims since the moral code of conduct was in force because of the byelection on the Rohtak parliamentary seat.

He said the government was considering the demand for a CBI probe into the violence but at the same time he emphatically stated that “none of the miscreants, however, influential, would be spared.”

When the Chief Minister arrived at the colony, a section of the crowd raised slogans against the BJP Lok Sabha member, Mr Kishen Singh Sangwan, whose two sons and a brother are among 23 persons booked for the violence.

CPM leader Brinda Karat arrived here in the afternoon and blamed the district administration for the violence. She said the authorities failed to defuse the situation despite the fact that the Dalits had deserted their houses after the murder of a Jat youth by some residents of Balmiki Colony four days ago. She also deplored the alleged involvement of a BJP MP’s relatives in the incident.

HPCC chief Bhajan Lal, Union Minister Selja, a host of leaders of Leftist parties and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders also visited the colony.

Yet, despite the violence against them, the victims do not have the sympathies of the locals with them. Even the markets, closest to the Balmiki Colony, remained open today. Many shopkeepers said some youths, residing in the colony, had “made their life hell” because of their unbridled criminal activities.

A visit to the colony makes it clear that the mob had initially targeted the houses of these alleged criminals. In the first few lanes of the colony, only selective houses were torched. But as the crowd went deeper, it lost control and torched most houses in the back lanes. In the process, even innocents became their victim.

One such victim, Mr Sohan Lal, was present outside his still smouldering house. He said the mob broke the almirahs and removed all cash and valuables before setting his house on fire.

Ms Anita, who had come to the colony to assess the damage to her brother’s house, levelled similar allegations.

Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, heavily armed police parties have been posted all over the town to prevent anymore backlash. Senior officers continue to camp here to monitor the situation.


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