Mirchpur violence: Jats continue to block rail tracks

Sunday, January 16, 2011

JIND - Tension prevailed in Jind district Sunday as hundreds of Jat community members continued to block railway tracks near here for the second day, disrupting trains over their demand for a fresh CBI probe into the Mirchpur caste violence of last year in which two Dalits were killed.

Members of the Jat Mahapanchayat, including many women, have been sitting on the railway track in Julani village near the Jind railway station since Saturday, refusing to budge until their demands are met.

The Jat Mahapanchayat - a mega conclave of community leaders - had issued an ultimatum to the state government to accept their demands before Jan 15.

Trains running on the New Delhi-Ferozepur line have been diverted from Narwana to Kurukshetra.

“We have diverted the trains to alternate routes. Due to this blockade, most of the long distance trains are running late,” a railway official said here.

Besides, tension prevailed in the Jind entire district as protesters have threatened to intensify their campaign if their demands are not met by the administration.

The district administration has moved in 45 companies of the reserve police to maintain law and order. Heavy police presence was also deployed at all sensitive locations.

“So far, their protest is peaceful. We are keeping a watch on them from a safe distance. Police have made elaborate arrangements to tackle any kind of emergency situation,” Ram Singh Bishnoi, Jind’s police superintendent, told IANS.

Apart from a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, the protesters are also demanding that the trial in the case be shifted from New Delhi to Hisar and the arrested Jat youths be released.

The trial was shifted to New Delhi last month on the directions of the Supreme Court. A total of 98 Jat youths were arrested in the case and they are currently lodged in a jail in New Delhi.

Rajbir Dhanda, a khap leader here, said: “We will continue our protest in a peaceful manner. We would not move from here till our demands are met.”

Mirchpur village in Hisar district hit the headlines last year when it was rocked by an arson attack by the dominant upper caste Jat members on a row of houses of the Dalit (Balmiki) families.

As many as 150 lower caste Dalit families were driven out of the village, about 300 km from Chandigarh, and their homes were torched April 21 last year. A 70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter were killed in the fire in their home and at least 18 houses were destroyed in the attack.

In the wake of Jats’ agitation, heavy police force has also been deployed in Mirchpur village to avoid any untoward incident.

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