Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Noida clash: Police visit houses to restore calm

An official of the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration speaks to a Dalit family in Kanawani village. Gajendra Yadav) An official of the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration speaks to a Dalit family in Kanawani village. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)
Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Posted: May 2, 2014 1:42 am | Updated: May 2, 2014 10:00 am

Three days after inter-community clashes broke out in Noida’s Kanawani village, which left a 22-year-old dead and several others injured, the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police and district administration have embarked on a series of confidence building measures to restore normalcy in the village.

In the aftermath of the killing of Gujjar youth Rahul Kasana in violence triggered by a property dispute, angry Gujjars had attacked Dalit homes and even destroyed a school. Several  Dalit families and tenants living in Dalit-owned homes had left the village fearing a backlash.

Senior Superintendent of Police Preetinder Singh said, “To improve people’s confidence in the law and order situation, three PAC platoons and personnel from the Noida police have been deployed in the village. Two DSP rank officers are constantly stationed in the village and are speaking to members of both communities to instill confidence. There are other officers who make rounds of the village as a confidence building measure.”

Singh said efforts were also in full swing to ensure that the Dalit families that had left the village return. “In consultation with the district authorities, we have decided to ask teachers to return to the school in the village and resume classes from tomorrow. Teachers have agreed to come back and this will convey to people that normalcy is fast returning,” Singh said.

Villagers, however, said it would take longer for the calm to return, especially after the killing of the 22-year-old. “The problem is that there is no clarity on who shot the boy. The Gujjars blame the Dalits and have named 18 of them in the FIR. How will those families return if they believe that the Gujjars are looking for vengeance,” Dayal Kumar, one of the few Dalits left in the village, said.

Police officers are trying to get members of Gujjar community to publicly announce that they would not take law into their hands.
“At least in their conversations with us, they have assured us that they do not want to harm the Dalits and want peace. In return, we have assured them that we will investigate the case thoroughly,” a senior officer said.

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