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Dalit houses torched near Karnal

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) Conflict between people of upper and low castes of Mohammadpur Kunjpura village in Haryana, which had been simmering for the past month despite the administration intervention, reached a flash point last night with about half a dozen houses of dalits allegedly torched.

While an anti-dalit Atrocities Coordination Committee alleged that six Dalit houses were torched, Karnal District Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Gupta said attempt was made to set the houses on fire.

Without attributing the incident to the upper caste people, Mr Gupta, however, said, ''Some mischievious elements tried to set houses (of dalits) on fire in a dramatic manner.'' The atmosphere of confrontation developed between the dominant upper caste community and the dalits when the latter wanted to take out a procession in the village on the eve of Bhagat Ravi Dass anniversary celebrations on February 13.

As the tension was building up between the two sides, the district administration intervened and did not allow the procession.

Police also made some arrests from both sides.

But later, a clash broke out in which, the committee alleged, 30-35 dalits were injured. The dalits also sat on a dharna at Karnal district headquarters later, protesting against the alleged attack on them.

Committee members Anit Chamria, Pankaj Bist, Subhash Gatade and Bajrang Bihari Tiwari, who visited the village and met the administration on March 22 and 23, alleged dalits were not provided security despite repeated pleas.

Sarpanch of the village, belonging to the upper caste, has been openly challenging people of lower caste that he will not allow them to stay in the village.

There are about 150 dalit families in the village and most of them are farm labourers.

UNI JSS AK KN1848

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