Haryana village singes with anger after Dalit killing

RSTV Bureau
Faridabad: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi meeting Jitendra whose house was set on fire allegedly by men belonging to the upper-caste community, at Sunpedh village in Ballabhgarh in Faridabad on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. Photo - PTI

Faridabad: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi meeting Jitendra whose house was set on fire allegedly by men belonging to the upper-caste community, at Sunpedh village in Ballabhgarh in Faridabad on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.
Photo – PTI

The brutal killing of two young children belonging to Dalit community in Haryana’s Sonped village, not far from the national capital Delhi, is snowballing into a major issue. Even as Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP state government continues facing severe criticism over the horrific incident, locals from Sonped village turned up in large numbers blocking Faridabad-Ballabgarh by-pass road in protest on Wednesday. Haryana government has now recommended a CBI probe into the incident.

Two children of a Dalit family were burnt alive in their sleep in the wee hours of October 20 allegedly by the members of upper caste Rajput community over an year old personal dispute.

Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi met with the bereaved family early on Wednesday. Taking on the BJP-ruled state government he said, “there is no government for the poor and poor people are being targeted here which is totally wrong”.

“This is an attitude shared by the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of the state and the entire BJP and RSS. The attidute is if somebody is weak, he can be crushed. What you have seen is the result of this attitude,” Mr. Gandhi said after meeting the family of the victims.

Former CM of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda too had met with the family followed by the senior CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat. Both the leaders strongly denounced the BJP-led state government for failing to protect the victims even after they were living under alleged threats since last year.

Two children — Vaibhav, aged two-and-a-half years and his 11 month-old sister Divya — died on the spot after the attackers allegedly poured petrol and set their house ablaze. Their mother Rekha, who suffered 70 per cent burns, continues to fight for her life in the ICU of Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. Their father Jitender too suffered injuries while trying to save his family.

Faridabad: A police department woman inspecting the spot after the house of a dalit was set on fire at Ballabgarh in Faridabad on October 20, 2015. Photo - PTI

Faridabad: A police department woman inspecting the spot after the house of a dalit was set on fire at Ballabgarh in Faridabad on October 20, 2015.
Photo – PTI

“We were sleeping when they (attackers) poured petrol from the window. I smelt the petrol and tried to wake up my wife but by then the fire had started. My children died in the fire,” said Mr. Jitender alleging that the attackers had threatened him before.

According to the victim’s family, three people from the Rajput community were killed in a scuffle between the two communities on October last year. Two months later, Jitender’s family was allegedly attacked and their home was burnt down. There were no casualties as none of the family members were present at home. Since then, police constables were assigned to guard Jitender and his family.

Before the probe over to the CBI, Haryana police had booked 11 persons, including a father-son duo, under the charges of murder, rioting and other related offences. Only 2 people have been arrest so far. Meanwhile, state administration has suspended 7 police personnel who were entrusted with the responsibility to provide the victim family with security.

Concerned over the incident, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier on Tuesday called up Chief Minister ML Khattar asking him to ensure security to everyone and prevent any recurrence of such incident.

“The Union Home Minister asked the Chief Minister to ensure peace and that such incidents don’t recur in future,” an official told the press adding that the Home Ministry has also sought a report from the state administration.

Even Union Minister of Social Justice Thawar Chand Gehlot took a serious note of the incident assuring all required assistance to the victim’s parents.

(With inputs from the PTI)