Mirchpur protests to intensify; Dharna to be at 50 more places

Residents of Mirchpur and adjoining villages, demanding 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.

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

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

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

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

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.