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Thakurs vs Dalits in Saharanpur: One killed, 25 houses set ablaze

Officials said the clash was the latest incident in a three-month-old dispute between the two communities over the installation of an Ambedkar statue in the village.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Published: May 6, 2017 5:41 am
 saharanpur, saharanpur violence, saharanpur clashes, thakurs-dalits, rajput-maharana pratap, ambedkar statue, thakur, dalits, one killed in saharanpur clashes, india news, indian express A Maharana Pratap procession sparked clash on Friday. (PTI photo)

A 35-YEAR-OLD man was killed, 16 persons seriously injured and at least 25 houses torched after clashes broke out Friday between members of the Thakur and Dalit communities in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur in UP following a dispute over a procession in memory of Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap.

Officials said the clash was the latest incident in a three-month-old dispute between the two communities over the installation of an Ambedkar statue in the village. They said that while Shabbirpur is dominated by Dalits, the neighbouring Simlana village is a stronghold of Thakurs.

Police said the injured were rushed a local hospital where Sumit Rajput of Rasoolpur village in the area was declared dead. All the houses torched were those of Dalits in Shabbirpur, they said.

”Sumit had gone to Simlana to take part in a function to garland the statue of Maharana Pratap. His autopsy report states that there were no injury marks on his body and that death was caused by suffocation,” said Jitendra Kumar Shahi, DIG (Saharanpur range).

Local police said four separate FIRs have been lodged against Dalits in Shabbirpur on different charges, including murder and attempt to murder, on the basis of complaints lodged by Thakurs. None one has been arrested so far.

Shabbirpur village pradhan Shiv Kumar and his brothers are among the accused, said police. No complaint has been received so far from members of the Dalit community in the village, they said.

Subhash Chandra Dubey, SSP (Saharanpur), said tension rose in Shabbirpur after Thakurs in the village moved towards Simlana in a procession, with loud music, to attend the function. The procession was organised without official permission, he said.

Narendra Singh Rana, Circle Officer (Deoband area), said the procession was moving towards Simlana when Dalits in Shabbirpur, including village head Shiv Kumar, objected to the “loud music”.

According to police sources, Kumar called up Manoj Singh, sub-divisional magistrate of Rampur area, and local police to complain about this. By the time, police and the SDM rushed to the village, the groups had engaged in a minor clash, they said.

“Police pacified people from both sides and convinced members of the procession not to proceed,” said sources.

However, Rana said, some members of the procession later called Thakurs from Simlana to inform them about the development. Soon, around 300 Thakurs reached Shabbirpur with sticks and “sharp-edged weapons” and clashed with the Dalits, he said.

”The police force was outnumbered and attacked, too” said Rana.

Police from Badgaon station, under whose jurisdiction the villages fall, said that as tension escalated, around 2,000 Thakurs reached Shabbirpur and set fire to 25 houses belonging to Dalits.

”An additional police force, which was moving towards Shabbirpur, was stopped by Thakurs at Maheshpur village on the way. The miscreants had parked vehicles on the road to block police. It took around two hours for reinforcements and the fire brigade to reach Shabbirpur,” said Mahendra Pal, Station House Officer, Badgaon.

Officials said the fire tenders took several hours to douse the flames while the police force, including the SSP, DIG and IG (Meerut Zone), struggled to disperse the rioters.

When contacted, SDM Manoj Singh said, “The dispute between the two groups had been going on at Shabbirpur for the last three months… The Dalit community’s objections over the procession was a sequel to that incident.”

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  1. M
    May 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm
    Unfortunately some mad dogs are trying exploit the situation, this has because of extreme level of stupidity. Daliths hijacked the Ambedkar and made him national leader to Dalith leader and Rajpuths made the Indian historical hero Ranaprathap to Thakur's hero. This should be seen attack on national unity. Some of the mad dogs are commenting very inhuman manner and talking about equality, these stupids don't know that the fellow's who are belongs to same community and worshipping same god but kil each other in middle east ....., on what basis?
    1. Mallikarjuna Sharma
      May 19, 2017 at 6:39 pm
      The caste system and caste conflicts in India are age old and will recur repeatedly. Only in the modern times new awareness and need for a casteless and classless society is spreading. If the government impartially tries to further that ideal and takes to task whoever culprits on whichever side in such riots and proves itself strictly impartial I think the situation will improve a lot. In the instant case, culprits and suspects of both the communities should be strictly dealt with and law should take its own course. It seems Thakurs are the belligerent community but the person killed seems to be on their or their supporters' side. A thorough investigation and strict action per law needed.
      1. h
        May 8, 2017 at 10:37 am
        gair dalit are veryverybahadur their bahadury ka matalabhai ki garibon ko marana pitana aur garibon ka ghar jalana en bahadur gair daliton ka jad le jald nash gka jai.iswar trahimam'trahimam.
        1. A
          May 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm
          Since the new safforan came in power the gunda elements starred their head and targeted muslim or dalit. This will go very wrong message in country .where is there law and order? Police is also very helpless because they have seen the gundagardi of hundu yuva vahini at the residence of SSP Saharanpur . no action has been taken against Lakhanpal but govt. transferred the honest officer. Is it true justice? Nothing will held they will repeat the same other part of country where the bjp ru govt. ate exict. The country is passing passing in very crucial time
          1. S
            May 7, 2017 at 1:16 am
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