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Long wait for justice

Special Correspondent

Dalit family being persecuted for building a Hanuman temple on their own land

JAIPUR: Justice eludes a Dalit family in Nimora village, near here -- facing persecution for the past two years for constructing a temple of Lord Hanuman and worshipping the deity -- even after it staged a dharna in the State Capital for two days demanding protection from the higher caste people threatening the family members.

The family of Krishna Gopal Dhanka is being harassed for its "audacity" to build the temple on its own land. Brahmins in the village assaulted the family members for conducting regular worship and imposed a fine of Rs. 21,000 on them. The family was hounded out for ten days last year as a punishment.

The Dhanka family staged a dharna in front of the Collectorate here on September 9 and 10 and threatened to commit suicide by self-immolation unless its persecution was stopped forthwith and those threatening it allegedly in collusion with the local police officials were brought to book.

Police registered a case here on the instructions of the Jaipur Collector and it was transferred to Bassi police station on September 11, where the first information report was lodged under Sections 3 and 4 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. However, police have made no headway in investigations even a week after the case was registered. Bhanwar Lal, son of Krishna Gopal, told The Hindu ere on Saturday that the local policemen were uncooperative because their names had been mentioned in the FIR for pressurising the family to abide by the decree of higher castes.

Police had earlier filed a final report in a previous FIR registered in the same case and had lodged a counter-case against the Dhankas, accusing them of disturbing peace in the village. The entry of Dhankas and other Dalit families to the temples in the village is already prohibited.

Bhanwar Lal claimed that the higher caste people had stolen the utensils of worship from the temple during the family's dharna in Jaipur, forcing the closure of the holy place. "There is an evident threat not only to our lives, but also to the temple which can be demolished any time," he said. The Dhankas have submitted a memorandum to the Inspector General of Police, Jaipur Range, O.P. Galhotra, to make arrangement for police protection to them and also for the temple. The memorandum stated that villagers were holding meetings every night and conspiring to kill the family members.

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