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Gohana calm, but violence spills over to other parts

August 29, 2007 15:08 IST

Five persons were injured in stray incidents of violence in various parts of Haryana during the state-wide bandh called by a Dalit outfit to protest against alleged excesses on the community.

However, situation in Gohana, where violence broke out on Tuesday when angry Dalits went on rampage to protest the killing of a youth of their community, remained calm. The bandh was called by All India Balmiki Mahasabha to protest the murder of Dalit youth and alleged excesses on their community.

In Karnal, five persons were injured when police resorted to a lathicharge when a group of protestors tried to block the National Highway No 1. Karnal police chief A S Chawla said, a procession of Dalits tried to block the national highway and when they were stopped they allegedly pelted stones at police personnel.

"We stopped them at Nirmal Kutiyan chowk close to the Secretariat, but they pelted stones at us. However, they were dispersed and the situation is normal now," he claimed. All shops and commercial establishments in Sonepat district, in which Gohana falls, were open as usual while all educational institutions, banks and other establishments functioned normally.

Heavy police presence was being maintained in Gohana town to keep the situation under control. In Bhiwani, police resorted to mild lathicharge near old bus stand, Rohtak gate, Haluwas gate and Dadri gate where people had gathered to observe the bandh.

In Yamunanagar, some Dalit youth riding motorcycles and carrying sticks damaged some two-wheelers in business centre located on Radour Road and near the railway station market.

A group of youth also tried to forcibly close shops in Ambala City and Ambala Cantt and took out protest rallies, but administration managed to control the situation.

In Bhiwani, a complete bandh was observed as all shops and other establishments remained closed while groups of Dalit youth went around Bhiwani town asking shopkeepers to down the shutters. The administration had deployed heavy contingent of police to avoid any untoward incident.

In Charkhi Dadri of Bhiwani district, a procession was taken out and later a delegation of the Balmiki society submitted a memorandum to the sub-divisional magistrate. In Kaithal, members of the Dalit community held a meeting and condemned the Gohana incident. The bandh call given for today, in Punjab's Phagwara, was dropped after the administration prevailed upon the Dalit organisations representatives not to enforce the call. However, they blocked traffic at Gol Chowk for close to half-an-hour on Phagwara-Jalandhar road which was later lifted on the intervention of the administration. Meanwhile, the last rites of Dalit youth Rakesh, alias Lara, were performed peacefully in Gohana late Tuesday night. National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman Buta Singh, who visited the town expressed his dissatisfaction over the police's dealing with violence and unrest at Gohana.

Singh said the commission was closely keeping an eye on the situation and added CBI would hold an inquiry, if necessary. Balmiki Samaj President Dashrath Rattan Rawan and Member of Parliament, Ramdas Athawale, who reached Gohana town Tuesday night blamed the police for its alleged failure to arrest the culprits involved in the murder.

A deputation of the Balmiki Maha Sabha and other organisations called on Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in New Delhi and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

Sonepat police chief Navdeep Singh Virk Wednesday said that the police had achieved a breakthrough in the murder of Rakesh and claimed the killers would be arrested soon. Rakesh alias Lara, was shot dead in Gohana town on Monday night by three men on a motorcycle when he and one Vikki were going to meet another friend. Rakesh was acquitted in the murder of Baljit Siwach, a Jat financer of Garhwal village on August 27, 2005 after which over 50 houses of Dalits were torched in its "Balmiki" colony.