'Discrimination' forces 70 Dalit families out of their village in Haryana town
Protesting the alleged discrimination, these families locked their houses in Bhagana village and moved to the district headquarters. They claimed that the boycott of their community has been going on for over three months and the harassment ranged from being denied water from the community well to the use of abusive language on the streets.
The boycotted Dalits also claimed that the upper caste locals had illegally occupied their farm lands while they had been driven out. Camping outside the deputy commissioner's office since leaving their village, they have been demanding justice.
"We are in a very bad condition... Upper class people have threatened the local grocery shop owners not to sell any item of daily use to us otherwise they will be fined Rs.1,200," alleged a protestor.
"We just asked for some space in the village land where we can feed our cattle and do some farming to earn our daily bread, but we were denied that right also," claimed another villager.
The protest has been gaining momentum with support from members of other backward communities. The leaders of these communities have threatened to intensify the stir.
"We will not bear discrimination in silence. We want the government to take strict action against such discrimination. Khap panchayats cannot give absurd verdicts," said a Dalit leader.
The deputy commissioner of Hisar promised to take action against the guilty.
"Under NREGA we will provide employment to everyone in the village irrespective of their caste. The work has already begun. We had also suspended the sarpanch earlier, but he was reinstated. Disciplinary action is being taken against him," the DC said.
Only a couple of months ago a Dalit man's left hand was chopped off after he drank water from the field of an upper caste person in Daulatpur village. The man who attacked 26-year-old Rajesh was arrested.
"I did not imagine he would attack me with a sickle. He took it out from his blanket and cut my hand. He asked me where I was from. I said Sinyana. Then he asked me which community I came from. He then abused me how dare I drink water from his earthen pot," Rajesh said.