Punjab Under ‘Dalit Anger’ Turmoil

Chandigarh: Dalit anger bubbled over from Gohana to other regions of Haryana, soaking up Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab, as activists across the region ran amok, ablaze vehicles, shuttering shops and blocking up national highways on Wednesday.

The violence was in reaction to the murder of a Dalit Youth, Rakesh on Monday, after he was released by a CBI court on charges of killing a Jat. Dalit groups collided with the police at different places and guaranteed more protests unless the accused were booked.

A nation-wide bandh called by Dalit administrations saw normal life come to a virtual halt at Ambala, Sirsa, Sonepat, Bhiwani and Gohana. By the day end, the fights, particularly in Rohtak and Bhiwani, saw over 20 people injured, comprising a DSP and six other policemen.

In Sirsa, which is already crawling under the Sikh-Dera Sacha Sauda conflicts, a gang tried to torch two private buses and it was only after the police force recurred to lathicharge that the incendiaries were took under control.

Hisar, too, burnt with various youth brandishing naked swords and lathis. They burned off images of CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, blocking up the highway linking Hissar to Delhi. The bandh, called by Adi Dharam Samaj, a Dalit organisation headed by Dashrath Rattan Rawana, was ended in this city till about noon.

While explaining the Dalit outburst, Pramod Kumar, director at the Institute of Development Communication stated, “When the political ambition of a particular community is not backed by corresponding transformation in social status, it naturally results in aggression. And a small provocation is enough to fuel the fire. The Gohana violence is just a result of that.”

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