Dalit anger erupts

The killing of a Dalit youth led a mob to torch two Haryana Roadways buses in a Hisar village on Friday. The incident of arson and rioting is blamed on police inaction against wanted criminals and is an indication of the simmering Dalit resentment, which easily reaches the boiling point in the Jat belt, especially Hisar.

laxmi@tribune.com

The killing of a Dalit youth led a mob to torch two Haryana Roadways buses in a Hisar village on Friday. The incident of arson and rioting is blamed on police inaction against wanted criminals and is an indication of the simmering Dalit resentment, which easily reaches the boiling point in the Jat belt, especially Hisar. Mirchpur, where two Dalits were burnt to death and 18 Dalit houses were torched in April 2010, is located in this district. The one-man Justice Iqbal Singh Commission set up to probe the Mirchpur violence blamed the police for acting as “mute spectators” and “failing” to prevent the rioting. Of the 100 people named as accused only 15 were convicted. The victims, now living in tents in Hisar, are still fighting for justice.
 
Hisar's another shame was the rape of four Dalit girls at Bhagana village in March 2014 which led to protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, police atrocities against them in August this year and the conversion of 50 Bhagana Dalits to Islam in a  desperate act of protest. Jat excesses against Dalits have often hit the headlines. But on April 23 this year RSS men beat up Dalits of Sonepat’s Rajendra Nagar over a minor incident. The police forced Dalits to reach a compromise and turned the “attack” by RSS men into a “clash” and omitted the use of the word “Dalit” in the written compromise forced on the Dalits.
 
Dalits in Haryana have suffered rapes and murders, social boycott and economic sanctions, denial of drinking water and work on farms. Apart from repression by Jats, their persistent complaint is about police bias in favour of the upper castes. While former Haryana Chief Minister Hooda was often accused of shielding the Jats, his successor, Manohar Lal Khattar, too has conspicuously failed to uphold the rule of law. In fact, his regime has seen a new dimension to communal violence: attacks on Muslims in southern Haryana. If he does not act firmly against criminals, regardless of their caste and religion, Haryana is in danger of going the UP way.

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