The Congress today demanded an independent probe into the caste violence in Saharanpur and cases against top police and civil officials of the district, as it hit out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh for “failing” to protect Dalits.
The Congress, while demanding setting up of a special court to try the cases to ensure time-bound justice, alleged that such attacks were a result of a mindset among some people who believe that they have a “licence to kill”.
Some people feel they can indulge in hooliganism, oppress Dalits and commit atrocities as they are confident that law will not be initiated against them as the chief minister will provide them protection, K Raju, the head of party’s SC department, alleged.
One person was killed and four others were injured yesterday as fresh violence erupted in Saharanpur, which has been witnessing inter-caste clashes since last month.
“This is a very sad story. It is not good for law and order in UP. It does not augur well for development of Uttar Pradesh,” he told reporters here.
“When a section of society feels that it can get away with murder, the weaker sections, the voiceless, the Dalits feel that they have no protection from government,” he said, adding, “This is what has happened in Saharnapur.”
The Congress demands that a special court be set up to try the cases and under the provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act charge sheets be filed against the accused within 60 days and the verdict comes within 120 days, he said.
Also action be taken against the administration, the police force and the district magistrate of Saharanpur for their “failure” to prevent occurrence and recurrence of such incidents, Raju said.
“Whosoever has failed in their duties should be punished,” he added.
Congress spokesperson Bhakt Charan Das said there should be an independent probe into the incidents and justice be provided to victims and guilty punished.
The BJP-led UP government, they hoped, would implement the Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act in letter and spirit to create confidence among Dalits that law will protect them.
“Otherwise, it will be difficult to contain the anger of Dalits,” they said, cautioning the government against a backlash from the community if its right are not protected.
“I hope the UP government will take this message seriously and create the kind of environment where Dalits feel that they are safe,” Raju said.
The Congress leader, who has visited the violence-affected areas, claimed a series of attacks on Dalits occurred in Saharanpur.
Around 20 days ago some community members were attacked in Shabirpur village and mobs burnt down nearly 30 houses and caused serious injuries to many Dalits, he claimed.
He said yesterday some dalit youth were returning from a public rally, when the same gangs attacked them, adding nearly 19 Dalits were seriously injured and a 22-year-old man was killed.
He said the Congress also demands that the chief minister should immediately convene a meeting of the Vigilance and Monitoring Committee as required by law and make sure that such incidents are not repeated.
“Saharanpur is a district declared as atrocity-prone which means the administration ought to be on alert to make sure that atrocities on Dalits don’t happen,” he said.
“Such incidents are happening and what is worrisome in Saharanpur incident is that administration is silent, have been mute witnesses, they have not prevented, they have not stepped in and they have not ensured that the law is activated against the victims,” he added.
He claimed that though hundreds of upper caste youth have been involved in clashes against Dalits, only 32 have been arrested so far.