Six members of a Dalit outfit were detained as police stopped it and several other organisations from holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ on alleged police inaction in the murder case of a Dalit youth, in a park next to the Meerut commissioner’s office. On August 9, Rohit Jatav (17) had died while around half a dozen sustained serious injuries in a clash between Dalits and Thakurs in Uldepur village, 20 km from Meerut.
On a complaint filed by Rohit’s father at Ganganagar police station, police registered an FIR against nine residents of the village, but only four have been arrested. Later, the police registered another FIR on the complaint of one Krishna Chauhan, a resident of Uldepur, who claimed that members of Thakur community there were living in fear of Dalits and need protection. No arrest has been made in this connection so far, police said.
Devendra Jatav, Rohit’s father, who was part of the group that called the meeting, said, “The five persons who are still absconding are roaming in the village while police claim they are untraceable. The government wants our votes during elections but always favours the upper castes, especially Thakurs, when any issue crops up involving us.”
Under the banner ‘Justice for Rohit’, Dalit outfits including Bheem Army asked people to assemble at the park at 10 am Thursday. However, as hundreds arrived for the ‘mahapanchayat’, policemen stationed in large numbers at entry points of Meerut allegedly forced them to return.
Sushil Gautam, chief of Democratic Student Forum, which called the ‘mahapanchayat’, was detained along with five members of his outfit.“Police cannot stop us from holding a fast-unto-death in Uldepur on Saturday,” he said.
Deputy SP (Civil Lines), Ram Arj said, “Police did not use force. Section 144 is in force.”