September 17, 2021 5:45:08 am
For the past five days, a group of Dalits have refused to cremate body of a community youth seeking compensation of Rs 20 lakh for his family members in Jind apart from a contractual job to his kin.
According to Dalit activists, Sunil, 28, had died after being hit by a motorcycle when he was deployed by his contractor to catch stray animals in Jind on Saturday late evening.
The officials said the local municipal body had signed an agreement with a contractor to catch and send the cows wandering on roads to local gaushalas.
“The accident had taken place when Sunil and a few other workers of the contractor were trying to catch cows there. We won’t cremate his body till the government doesn’t announce a contractual job and compensation for the family of the deceased,” said Devi Das, a Dalit activist, who is leading a dharna in Jind. The police have lodged an FIR against the motorcyclist under relevant sections of the IPC. A senior officer of the administration has termed their demands as “unjustified” adding they are ready to extend every help as per the rules. The officer also said they are trying to persuade the protesters to cremate the deceased while terming the accident as unfortunate.
According to Das, the Dalits started a dharna in front of the mortuary in local government hospital on Sunday to demand compensation for his family. Sunil, who was from Valmiki community, is survived by his wife Jyoti and nearly one-year old daughter Jhanvi. On Tuesday, the protesters moved to the local Mini Secretariat to stage a dharna there.
A senior police officer told The Indian Express: “They entered in the Mini Secretariat and sat on a dharna near the office of DC even after their meeting with the administrative officers.”
At midnight, police asked them to vacate the premises or face legal action. After that the Dalits are sitting on the dharna near the Mini Secretariat which houses offices of senior officers including deputy commissioner and superintendent of police.
“We want compensation on the pattern of Karnal where the government has announced two contractual jobs and Rs 25 lakh to the family of the deceased farmer,” said Devi Das.
In Karnal, farmer leaders had claimed that a farmer was injured in the police lathicharge but later died of cardiac arrest. The agitators had laid a siege around the Karnal Mini Secretariat demanding action against Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha for ordering the policemen to “break heads” of protesters if they breach the cordon. After a long agitation, the government had announced a judicial probe while sending Sinha on leave for a month apart from compensation to the family of the deceased farmer.
In Jind, opposition parties too have come in support of protesting Dalits. A Congress MLA from neighbouring constituency, Safidon, Subhash Gangoli Thursday reached to support the agitators. Gangoli said: “If their genuine demands are not met, the Congressmen will also join the dharna. Not only Jind DC, I will raise this issue before the CM and state Home Minister too.”
On his part, Jind SDM Dalbir Singh said: “As per the policy of the government for the workers of contractors engaged in public sector projects, the family of the deceased are eligible for a compensation of Rs 3 lakh, apart from other compensation as per the labour laws and motor vehicle Act and government welfare schemes.”
Local BJP MLA Krishan Midha said: “I am hopeful for an early solution as the talks between the protesters and administration are going on. On my part, I have promised to give a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the family if it agrees for a FD in the name of the child for 18 years.”
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