Mirchpur protests to intensify; Dharna to be at 50 more places
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 21:14
  
Jind: Residents of Mirchpur and adjoining villages, demanding a fresh probe into the killing of two Dalits in April last year after which 98 members of their community were booked, today said they would intensify their ongoing agitation by staging protests at 50 more places.

"We would launch our sit-in dharna at 50 more places-- both road and rail--from tomorrow to press our demand for a CBI probe into the booking of members of the community," their spokesman Suresh Koth told reporters here.

He, however, declined to announce the new dharna spots except saying that the intensified protest would cover the entire of Uttar Pradesh, including routes leading to Delhi.

Members of the pre-dominant Jat community have been sitting on the tracks at Julani village near Jind railway station since January 15, due to which railway traffic on the Jind-Jakhal section of the Delhi-Ferozepur route has been disrupted.

Koth said that 121 Khaps (self-styled panchayats) in the state have extended their support to the protest.

Besides blocking railway tracks, the protesters also blocked the Jind Bhiwani road for three hours between Igra and Bibipur villages in the district.

Residents of Kandakheri village in adjoining Hissar district also joined the three-hour blockade of the road this afternoon.

Koth alleged that the state government was misleading the protesters by not taking any action on their demand for a fresh probe on the plea that the matter was before the Supreme Court.

Despite the cold weather, about 5,000 people, including women, remain squatted on the railway tracks throughout the day while in the night around 200 people carry on the dharna.

The protesters have pitched three tents, one on the track itself, which also store their blankets, quilts and ration.

Their food is cooked near the protest site with residents of nearby villages including Julani and Sangatpura ensuring supplies of vegetables, cereals, wheat flour and fuel. Tea is available throughout the day.

Police personnel have been deployed in strength to ensure maintenance of peace.

After the upper-caste villagers began their indefinite dharna, the call for which was issued by a Jat Mahapanchayat of 42 khaps, long-route passenger and goods trains have been diverted via other routes including Jakhal while some local passenger trains have been cancelled.

The villagers are protesting the booking of 98 members of their upper-caste community in the case relating to the killing of 70-year-old Dalit Tara Chand and his 17-year-old daughter Suman in April last year.

Efforts by government officials and ministers, including Randeep Singh Surjewala, to broker peace have remained futile.

A Delhi court had on January 9 directed the Haryana Government to move all the 98 accused from Hisar jail to New Delhi's Tihar prison following the transfer of their trial to a special court in Delhi by an order of the Supreme Court on December 9 last year, after the aggrieved party had approached the apex court claiming that a fair trial was not possible within the state.

The protesters are demanding that the probe be held either at Rohtak or Hisar and the accused be lodged in either of the two jails.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 21:14


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