Lynching of 5 Dalits in Haryana.

Source: Indian Express

Five Dalits lynched in Haryana as entire administration watches

They were skinning a dead cow to sell hide, local VHP, Sena spread rumour of cow-slaughter, cops say we couldn't do much

JHAJJAR (HARYANA): Less than two hours from the capital, this was the scene on Wednesday outside the Dulena police post in Jhajjar district: patches of blood on the road, a pile of smouldering ashes. This is where five Dalits, all in their 20s, were beaten to death on Tuesday night, two of them torched.

They were doing what they have been doing for years: skinning dead cows to sell the hide. This time, however, "someone" spread the word that the cow was alive.

So a mob, returning after the Dussehra fair, dragged them out of the police post where they had taken refuge and lynched them to the cries of ęiGau mata ki jai. Watched by the City Magistrate, the DSP of Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh, the Municipal Corporator's husband, the Block Development Officer and at least 50 policemen.

Says City Magistrate Raj Pal Singh who saw the lynching: "We tried stopping them but got hurt ourselves in the process. I was dragged a few feet away, otherwise I would have been killed."

One FIR has been registered against "unknown people," while a second has been filed against the victims under the Cow Slaughter Act.

Local office-bearers of the VHP and the Shiv Sena have submitted a memorandum to the local police asking them not to take any action against the guilty.

This website's newspaper spoke to several eyewitnesses and district officials to reconstruct the incident. And they suggested this was no impulsive act, the frenzy built up over a good three and a half hours_the Dalits were first "spotted" at 6.30 pm, beaten and dragged to the police post and then battered to death between 9 and 10 pm.

* Five Dalits had bought what they claimed was a dead cow from Farooqnagar and were on their way to sell the hide_something which they traditionally do here to earn a living.

* They were first seen 500 m from the police post by a group of men returning from Dusshera festivities.

* This group reached Jhajjar, 15 minutes away, and informed the local Dharamshala that "cow slaughter was going on."

* Within minutes, two vehicles with the District Magistrate, two priests from the temple and some local VHP leaders left for the spot.

* By then, the five had sought refuge at the police post. The word spread in at least 10 nearby villages, and in an hour, the crowd swelled to 2,000.

"Local VHP workers and some anti-social elements were spotted at the scene," says District Commissioner Manohar Kumar, who claims he reached late because of a traffic jam.

"The word spread by telephone, word of mouth and of course a tractor full of people returning from the fair stopped."

Local VHP office-bearers dare the police to take action. "If they can kill our mother then what if we kill our brothers who kill her," says Mahendra Parmanand, the priest of the local temple. "I will say it in front of the police that what they were doing was wrong and they deserve to be punished," says Ramesh Saini, VHP office-bearer.

Shishu Pal from the local Shiv Sena unit says that whatever happened was wrong but "could not have been helped."

Action on Dalit murders: Cow sent for post-mortem

BADSHAHPUR/JHAJJAR: Two days after five Dalits are lynched barely two hours from the heart of the nation’s capital, this is the status report: Not a single arrest, a few statements of outrage, the local VHP justifying the murder.

And if you thought this was shocking, consider this: the administration has sent the carcass of the cow for a post mortem.

To ostensibly find out if the victims were skinning a live cow or a dead cow!

‘‘Final conclusion will be drawn after the report comes,’’ says Muhammad Akil, Superintendent of Police, Jhajjar, ‘‘the viscera has been preserved for further investigation.’’ This website's newspaper questioned Akil:

Have you identified any suspects?

No, today the priority is to maintain law and order, dousing the inflamed passions of the people.

Given that the five were murdered, how is the postmortem of the cow relevant?

It will show how the mob got emotional when they saw an act like this.

The victims’ families say they have been doing this for generations. Why will they stop in front of a police station to skin a live cow?

It is unusual. It was their maut (death) that forced them to stop.

All this is a cruel joke for Ratan Singh, father of 27-year-old Virender Singh, one of those burnt alive. A resident of Badshahpur village in Gurgaon, Ratan Singh says that this is nothing but a cover-up.

‘‘We have been doing this for three generations. There is no question of them skinning a cow by the side of the road. They worked on contracts which they got from Municipality auctions,’’ he says.

‘‘The truck the five Dalits were travelling in had hides and would never carry a carcass.’’

According to him, his son and his nephew Dayachand hired a truck, picked up hides from Farruqnagar and were going to Karnal to sell it. A trader from Karnal, Kailash, was with them.

Dayachand, in his early 30s, has left behind his young wife and two children.

Dayachand’s father Budhram alleges that as per his inquiries, the police stopped the truck and asked the five Dalits for a bribe.

‘‘When they refused to pay, they were beaten up and a case registered under the Cow Slaughter Act. Since one of them got seriously injured, they had no option but to spread the story that they were killing a cow.’’

Totaram and Raju were the driver and the conductor of the truck. Raju was only 16 and his father Ram Pal is a sweeper in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

‘‘We were told at three in the morning that here had been an accident and that our sons were admitted in the Jhajjar Civil Hospital,’’ says Ram Pal.

‘‘When we rushed there, it was difficult to identify the bodies. They were half burnt, their eyes gouged out.’’

In the FIR, the police claim that they tried protecting the victims but were helpless. ‘‘4-5,000 strong mob that had gone mad and was armed with stones and swords attacked us (police),’’ says the FIR.

Despite several eyewitnesses and officials admitting they were there, no one has been named in the FIR. ‘‘When the City Magistrate met us, he told us that 10 faces were in front of his eyes right through the night and he could not sleep, why can’t he identify them and catch them,’’ asks Raju’s father.

A special ‘‘investigative team’’ has been set up under DSP Jhajjar Narender Singh. But this has made no headway in the case for, as Akil himself admits: ‘‘We have been busy explaining the circumstances of the case to maintain law and order. The ramifications could spread to other states.’’

Meanwhile, the usual suspects have come rushing in. Ram Vilas Paswan is going to visit the victim’s families. On Thursday, Brinda Karat with other Left leaders met authorities. On Sunday, 50 village panchayats are meeting in Gurgaon. Social organisations demanded that Rs 10 lakh be paid to each victim’s family along with a government job.

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Published on: October 22, 2002
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