SC slams Haryana Govt on Hissar carnage

The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Haryana government for the brutal killing of two Dalits and destruction of 150 houses in Mirchpur, Hissar on April 21.

Last Updated: Jun 02, 2010, 20:28 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed
the Haryana government for the brutal killing of two Dalits
and destruction of 150 houses in Mirchpur, Hissar on April 21
allegedly by upper caste people and warned it would "take a
very serious view" if such incidents recurred.

A vacation bench of Justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad
pulled up the state government for its failure to prevent the
incident, reportedly a fallout of a dog belonging to people of
the (Valmiki) Dalit community barking at some upper caste Jat
boys.

"Admittedly it started after a dog belonging to the
Valmiki community barked at upper caste boys. Is it a ground
for murdering people? Even dogs will not be killed for such
purposes, otherwise, there will be no dogs left," the bench
remarked.

The apex court passed the observation while rejecting the
submission of senior counsel H S Hooda, who contented that the
incident occurred after a wordy duel between youths belonging
to the two communities on a trivial issue.

The apex court recorded an undertaking from the Haryana
Government that it would rebuild some of the houses damaged in
the arson and provide employment to at least one member of
each affected family under the NREGA or other
government-sponsored schemes by the next hearing.

"Unfortunately in Haryana such incidents are repeatedly
occurring without sensitivity. We hope there will be no
further incidents. If it occurs and this court finds the state
lacking, we will take a very serious view," the bench warned.

The apex court expressed displeasure at the manner in
which the state government failed to anticipate the situation
and prevent the incident.

"What did the SSP, the District Commissioner and other
senior officers do to prevent the possible occurrence? We want
the state government to conduct a thorough probe and fix
responsibility on superior officers, suspension of SHO or
thesildar hardly makes a difference," the bench observed.

The apex court said the state had a duty to protect
the lives of citizens.

"If we have a rule of law nobody can violate it
howsoever, big they may be. It is the first duty of the state
to protect its citizens and residents," the bench said.

The apex court directed the District Commissioner,
Hissar, to visit the Valmiki Temple in the capital where the
victims are presently taking shelter to assess the damage,
examine the cause and file a report to it within four weeks.

It further asked the Advocate General of Haryana to
appoint a two-member committee of advocates which will visit
the affected village as also the Valmiki temple to ascertain
the cause and extent of damage to the properties of the
victims.

The committee would also submit its report to the court
in four weeks.

On April 21, a 70-year-old Dalit man and his
18-year-old physically-challenged daughter were burnt alive in
the incident, forcing about 150 families to flee the village
and take shelter at the Valmiki temple.

The apex court passed the direction on a PIL filed by
some of the affected persons seeking action against the
alleged culprits and protection and rehabilitation of the
aggrieved families.

The apex court, however, suggested that since the
incident had social dimensions, it would be appropriate if the
two community members sorted out the dispute between
themselves.

"All disputes can be settled across the table," the
bench added, while posting the matter for further hearing on
July 19.

PTI