Mirchpur violence: Jats demand SIT probe, block roads



Jind: Hundreds of Jat community members blocked roads in Haryana's Jind district on Sunday to demand a Special Investigation Team probe into the Mirchpur caste violence last year in which an elderly Dalit man and his daughter were killed in an arson attack.

The Jat protesters also continued their rail blockade for the ninth day.

Jat protesters, who have been blocking the Delhi-Ferozepur railway line near Jind railway station for the last nine days, Sunday extended their protest to highways and other important road links in the state.

They blocked all roads in Jind leading to Bhiwani, Sonipat, Barwala and Patiala towns.

The protesters also blocked the rail link between Delhi and Hisar, near Mayad village in Hisar district.

The Haryana government, which had already positioned a large contingent of state police and paramilitary forces, has sought additional 10 companies of paramilitary force from the central government.

The Jat mahapanchayat, a congregation of 42 khap panchayats, has demanded a fresh Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Mirchpur caste violence.

Besides, the protesters have also sought that the trial in the case be shifted from New Delhi to Hisar and the arrested Jat youths be released.

The state government has agreed to refer the case to the CBI, but the agitating Jats have started demanding a probe by the special investigation team (SIT) into the Mirchpur incident.

"We are not satisfied with CBI probe and demand the constitution of a SIT to look into this matter. So far, we have held three meetings with government officials but nothing concrete has come out," said Suresh Koth, secretary of the Jat Mahapanchayat.

"We will continue our protest in a peaceful manner," he said.

Haryana Congress president Phool Chand Mullana on Sunday urged the community to end their protest.

"We appeal to the Jat community to immediately end their protest as it is harassing thousands of people. We are ready to discuss and sort out every issue.”

“In fact, the state government has already accepted their demand of a CBI probe but I have no knowledge about their fresh demand of SIT," Mullana said.

The Jat Mahapanchayat - a mega conclave of community leaders - had issued an ultimatum to the state government to accept their demands before January 15.

Mirchpur village in Hisar district hit the headlines last year when the dominant upper caste Jat members set fire to a row of houses of the Dalit (Balmiki) families April 21 last year.

A 70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter were killed in the fire in their home and at least 18 houses were destroyed in the attack.

As many as 150 Dalit families were driven out of the village, about 300 km from Chandigarh, and their homes were torched.

The trial of youth accused of the arson attack on Dalit houses in Mirchpur village was shifted to New Delhi last month on the directions of the Supreme Court. A total of 98 Jat youths were arrested in the case and are currently lodged in a jail in New Delhi.

IANS