Updated: October 22, 2015 1:53:09 am
AS SCORES of Dalits gathered in Sunpedh on Wednesday, a day after two Dalit children in the village were burnt alive in an attack by Rajputs on their family, the Haryana government said it would recommend a CBI probe into the incident.
Villagers blocked the Delhi-Agra highway for most of the day in grief and anger, with the bodies of two infants who died on Tuesday placed on blocks of ice. They allowed the children to be buried only after meeting with the district administration.
Ballabhgarh incident: Police remove protesters,clear blocked road pic.twitter.com/R0WeGRkqpM
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 21, 2015
On Wednesday morning, the bodies of three-year-old Vaibhav and nine-month-old Divya, wrapped in white sheets, were brought to the village from AIIMS. A crowd first gathered in support of their father Jitender, and soon swelled after Dalits from other villages arrived and demanded stringent action against the guilty.
After protesting at the bypass for a few hours, the demonstrators began to march from Jaat Chowk in Sunpedh till the Faridabad highway. The highway was blocked for over two hours before the Faridabad administration spoke to the family and asked them to form a committee of six people to put forth the demands.
The crowd, however, had to be pushed away with force while at least 300 policemen from Faridabad and Gurgaon were deployed to maintain security. An additional five battalions of reserve forces were also called in.
Around 6 pm, the family finally started the last rites of the two children who were buried in an empty plot near the village. Jitendra’s wife Rekha (23) is still battling for life in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. Police on Tuesday arrested four named by Jitendra in the FIR.
Also on Wednesday, politicians from across party lines made a beeline for the village, including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister of State and Faridabad MP Krishan Pal Gujjar, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat and AAP leader Ashutosh.
Ballabhgarh incident: Around 400 personnel of Haryana Police deployed as villagers protest on Faridabad highway pic.twitter.com/mvDSyhIvLF
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 21, 2015
Gandhi arrived with Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed. Speaking to the family, Rahul said: “If you are weak you can be crushed. This is the attitude shared by the Prime Minister, Haryana Chief Minister, BJP and the RSS. They have been killed for no fault of theirs except that they were poor.”
Gandhi also objected to a reporter’s query on allegations that his visit was a mere ‘photo opportunity’. “This is insulting when someone says it when someone comes here. It is not insulting to me. It is insulting to these people. What is a photo op. What you mean? People are dying. I will keep coming to such places,” Gandhi said.
MP Gujjar promised a government job for Jitender and said Rekha would receive free treatment at Safdarjung hospital. CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat questioned why the CM or any of his senior ministers had not come to meet the family. She further said that the fact that no action was taken on the complaint shows that no value is given to Dalits in the country.
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