Two days after riots, community leaders trade charges


NEW DELHI, MARCH 12: Two days after the riots in which six people were injured, Palla village in Alipur remains tense. Though police presence was striking, some of the residents alleged untoward incidents last night. The platoon of Reserved Armed Police posted in the area has been withdrawn. Meanwhile, police arrested a youth belonging to the Chauhan camp today, raising the number of arrests to seven.

Terrorised residents were scared to venture into the residential areas of the opposing group. Interestingly, both the camps accused police of colluding with the other camp.

What began as a simple incident of altercation between two groups of people, soon turned into a caste-war between the dominant communities in the village the Rajputs (Chauhans) and the Dalits. Around 2 pm on Saturday, Sardare, a dalit in the area went to the fields of Choudhury Brahm Singh, the Pradhan of the village to defecate. Singh's wife, Savita, and two sons, Dushyant and Manoj, who were working in the field then, objected. This was followed by a verbal duel which soon escalated into exchange of blows. In the process, the three Dushyant, Savita and Manoj, were injured. Choudhury's relatives avenged this by beating up Nawrang Singh, Sunil, Harpal and Ashutosh, all of whom were hospitalised.

Today was the day of allegations and counter-allegations at Palla. Spokesmen of both the communities cried hoarse to defend their clansmen. According to the Dalits, the Chauhans went on the rampage after the incident. ``Around 200 Chauhans, including members of the RSS, most of them armed, came into our residential areas and broke into many of our houses. About 150 homes were broken into and looted. They then went ahead and damaged a truck that was to leave for Kanpur, and took away cash and the truck's battery and beat up its driver and cleaner,'' said Anil, one of the Dalits, whose house was also ransacked.

However, the Chauhan camp dismissed these allegations, saying that the broken doors and window of the houses are the handiwork of the Dalits themselves who wanted project the image of a victim. ``They initially said that it was Brahm Singh who was responsible for the riots. But Brahm Singh was actually away, attending to his family members who were grievously injured in the hospital, when the so-called riots broke out. Later, he himself went to the police station, where he was detained. And today he was send to Tihar jail,'' said one of Brahm Singh's relatives.

``In fact, their part in the whole episode has gone unnoticed. Last night, there was stone pelting on the terrace of our house. Luckily, none of us were hurt. I had called the Police Control Room van at telephone number 100. But there was no response from them,'' alleged Savita.

Members of the Chauhan camp said that police were deployed only in those areas where the Dalits were living and not near their residential areas. ``Our security is taken for granted,'' said Savita. However, the Dalits alleged the police are hand-in-glove with the Chauhans. ``The police are being fed by the Chauhans. There was a constable who fired in the air to terrorise us when the Chauhans were breaking our houses,'' said Chattar Singh, a Dalit.

Referred by:Balram Sampla
Published on: March 14, 2001
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