SC seeks details of losses due to Mirchpur stir

Jat protesters have blocked roads and rail routes, cutting of Jind from rest of India since Jan 15.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Railways and the Haryana government to assess their financial losses due to the disruption in rail and road traffic following a stir against booking of some upper caste people in the Mirchpur Dalit killings case.

A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi directed Northern Railway`s general manager to instruct his senior officials to file an affidavit quantifying the loss suffered by the Railways.

It also asked the Haryana government to evaluate and apprise the court about the loss suffered by the state exchequer due to the blockade of road traffic from Jind to Delhi during the 11-day stir organised by 12 `khap` panchayats.

The bench also issued notices to the Centre and the state government and sought their responses within two weeks.

While seeking details of the financial loss suffered by the Haryana government, the bench also asked the state and railway authorities to apprise it of the steps taken by them for the free flow of rail and road traffic.

Villagers had been protesting the booking of 98 members of their community in the case relating to the killing of 70-year-old Tara Chand and his teenaged daughter Suman at Mirchpur village in Hisar on April 21 last year.

Demanding a fresh probe into the Dalit killings, upper caste people of Mirchpur and other adjoining villages in Hisar district had brought the rail and road traffic to Delhi via Jind to a grinding halt earlier this month.

Members of the pre-dominant Jat community had been sitting on railway tracks at Julani village near Jind railway station since January 15, disrupting railway traffic on the Jind-Jakhal section of the Delhi-Ferozepur route.

The protesters had also been blocking road traffic in Jind and other places of the state, besides locking the Haryana roadways bus depot in many places.

Normalcy was restored in the troubled districts on January 26 following talks between leaders of the protesters and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Kaithal.

Hooda assured Bhag Singh Jalabh, convenor of the 41-member committee constituted by Sarvjatiya Sarvkhap Mahapanchayat, to look into his grievances that many of the upper caste people had been falsely implicating in the case.

A Delhi court had on January 9 directed the Haryana government to move all the 98 accused from Hisar jail to Tihar prison since their trial was transferred to a court in Delhi
following a Supreme Court order.

The protesters had been demanding that the probe be held by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) either at Rohtak or Hisar and the accused be lodged in either of the two jails.