Around 10 houses of Dalit families were set on fire after a clash with Muslims at Batheti village in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday night, leading to tension in the area.
By Wednesday evening, police had arrested 37 of the 57 named in the FIR lodged on a complaint filed by Dalit community. While additional police force has been deployed in the village, the district administration has removed the Station House Officer of Sarai Khwaja Police Station, Sanjiv Mishra, and sent him to Police Lines.
According to police, the clashes erupted after two groups of Dalit and Muslim boys had an altercation over cattle grazing.
“On Tuesday evening, some Dalit and Muslim teenagers were grazing buffaloes and goats when they started quarreling. Initially, the village head intervened, but later, some boys from the Muslim community returned to the Dalit basti where a Dalit man slapped a Muslim boy, and the matter got escalated… There was stone-pelting from both sides and people alleged that firearms were used. Eleven boys from both the communities were injured in the stone-pelting. Later, a group of Muslim men indulged in arson and set fire to Dalit huts,” Mishra, the outgoing SHO, told The Indian Express before he was shuntedout.
In the police complaint filed by the Dalit families, it was alleged that the fight began after the Muslim boys hurled casteist slurs at them.
“When this was opposed, they started beating up my cousins… When some family members, including mothers of my cousins, went to inquire about the incident to the house of the accused, they had to face abuses… Around 6 pm, 57 identified and 20-25 unidentified people from the Muslim community came to our basti with sticks and weapons threatened to kill us… Women and children had to take shelter in the nearby village and 10 houses were burnt by the Muslims,” the complainant told the police.
While police have booked the accused for rioting, attempt to murder and breach of peace, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the police to invoke the stringent Nation Security Act (NSA) and Gangster Act against them.
The accused have also been booked under section 7 of the CLA Act, Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Diseases Act and under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Chief Minister also directed the district administration to provide houses to the affected families under the CM Awas Yojana. “The families should also be given Rs 1 lakh as compensation,” a statement issued by the government said.
To compensate for the losses, the Chief Minister has extended a monetary help of Rs 10,26,450. He has also directed officials to provide a help of Rs 1 lakh to the victim families through the social welfare department according to the norms.
Additional SP (Rural) has been asked to probe the matter.
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