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Rahul meets victims of caste violence in Haryana village

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today met the relatives of a man and his disabled daughter who were burnt alive and other dalit families targeted in caste violence in a village here and assured them of stringent action against the guilty.



Hisar (Haryana): Congress leader Rahul
Gandhi on Thursday met the relatives of a man and his disabled
daughter who were burnt alive and other dalit families
targeted in caste violence in a village here and assured them
of stringent action against the guilty.

Rahul, who arrived unannounced in Mirchpur village,
350 km from Chandigarh, went to nearly 18 Dalit households
affected in the April 21 violence.

Amid scorching heat as temperature soared to 45
degrees Celsius, Rahul spent nearly 50 minutes with those
affected by the violence and consoled them.

He patiently listened to the affected families who
demanded that they should be rehabilitated somewhere else,
sources said.

Rahul told them that he will speak to Chief Minister
Bhupinder Singh Hooda in this regard and also apprise Congress
president Sonia Gandhi of the demand.

Accompanied by senior party leader Prithvi Raj
Chauhan, Rahul met the family members of 70-year-old Tara
Chand and his daughter Suman, 18, who were killed when members
of a particular community torched 18 houses belonging to
Dalits in the Congress-ruled state.

He told them that "the guilty would not be spared and
stringent action would be taken against them," a party leader
said. The Congress general secretary told the family that
their demands and other issues would be placed before higher
authorities.

"Rahul also interacted with members of other dalit
families in the village," Dheeraj Chahal, village Tehsildar
(revenue officer), who was present during the Congress
leader`s visit, told.

The state authorities as well as the party unit had no
prior information about Rahul`s visit.

"The villagers were surprised when they learnt that
Rahul had come," Chahal said, adding that the leader`s convoy
included three vehicles.

"We were not aware about his visit. Probably he wanted
that he should have a quiet interaction with those who had
been affected," Haryana Congress President Phool Chand Mullana
said.

During his visit two days back, Hooda had announced an
ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the next of kin of each
deceased and financial assistance of Rs 25,000 and free
treatment for the injured.

On the demand of the affected families that they be
rehabilitated elsewhere, Mullana said, "even during the Chief
Minister`s visit they had said so, but we assured them that
the Government is committed to ensure their safety and
security".

The incident had triggered protests from Dalits and
the main opposition INLD had demanded Hooda`s resignation.
The Mirchpur incident was also raised in Parliament during the
ongoing session.

PTI

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