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Jat-Dalit tension mounts near Ludhiana

Harpreet K. Kang

Sunday 6 July 2003, by KANG*Harpreet K.

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition du dimanche 6 juillet 2003.

BHATTIAN, Ludhiana: Heavy downpour averted a likely clash between Jats and Dalits at Bhattian here on Sunday morning, where tension had been mounting between the two sects for the past fortnight, which had culminated in the beating up of two Dalits allegedly by Jat villagers on Sunday morning.

One of the Dalits, identified as Om Prakash, had reportedly suffered head injuries and had been admitted to the civil hospital.

Shawan Kumar, the village sarpanch attributed the simmering problem to hostility by the Jats who had been controlling the village panchayat for the past 40 years.

Last year the panchayat seat was reserved for women, but this year that seat was de-reserved. The Jats who lost to the Dalits, could not reconcile to this loss.

The two Dalits, Om Parkash and Chaman Lal, had gone to the fields on Sunday morning to ease themselves when some Jats allegedly beat them up. A Jat villager Harbans Singh said that the Jats had warned the Dalits not to defecate in their fields.

The Dalits had reported the matter to the police, but the police seemingly did not intervene.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Dalits blocked traffic on National Highway No 1 to protest the beatings. The traffic jam, which lasted for nearly two hours, was cleared only when it started to rain heavily. One of the Dalits, identified as Om Prakash, had reportedly suffered head injuries and had been admitted to the civil hospital.

Shawan Kumar, the village sarpanch attributed the simmering problem to hostility by the Jats who had been controlling the village panchayat for the past 40 years.

Last year the panchayat seat was reserved for women, but this year that seat was de-reserved. The Jats who lost to the Dalits, could not reconcile to this loss.

The two Dalits, Om Parkash and Chaman Lal, had gone to the fields on Sunday morning to ease themselves when some Jats allegedly beat them up. A Jat villager Harbans Singh said that the Jats had warned the Dalits not to defecate in their fields.

The Dalits had reported the matter to the police, but the police seemingly did not intervene.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Dalits blocked traffic on National Highway No 1 to protest the beatings. The traffic jam, which lasted for nearly two hours, was cleared only when it started to rain heavily.

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