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Peace moves: An elderly villager addressing a congregation called for conciliation among Jats and Dalits at Mirchpur village in Hisar district of Haryana on Sunday.
MIRCHPUR: In a desperate attempt to patch up with Dalits of Mirchpur and ensure early release of the men convicted of arson and murder, the Jats of the village held a panchayat here on Sunday and appealed to the families of victims of recent caste-based violence to embrace brotherhood and forget the past.
“We are all terrified by the events of that unfortunate day, lives have been lost and homes have been destroyed but the Valmiki members of the village must use their right to forgive and forget so that we can all live in brotherhood,” said Balbir Saab.
On the 21st of April this year a mob comprising upper caste Jats set ablaze over 18 Dalit houses over a minor incident.
Seventy-year-old Tara Chand and his polio-stricken daughter Suman were charred to death in their home as they could not escape. Police arrested over 40 people.
While Dalits claim that some of the guilty Jat leaders were never arrested, the Jats say that those who were innocent must be released immediately. Asked about his opinion about the punishment for the guilty, an elderly Jat man said on Sunday, “Brotherhood means no grudges against anyone. When we all live as one family, we are all assured of our safety and peace and the dark shadow of past events will fade away. Village matters must not reach the police and courts; those must be resolved by mutual understanding and cooperation.”
The Dalits complain that they are under pressure to withdraw police cases and strike a compromise. “We are living under absolute social boycott. We are not sold milk and our children are scared to go to school. The Jats want us to take our complaints back and befriend the men who burnt down our homes without caring for women and children. Half the Dalit population has already left the village and the others have packed their bags and they want us to feel grand about ourselves by forgiving!” said a Dalit, Satyavan.
The deceased Tara Chand's son Pradeep said that until all the guilty men are punished there can be no compromise and that the panchayat must stop pressurising the community to forgo their right to justice.
Meanwhile Tara Chand's sons have started working at the Hisar Secretariat on the posts that the Administration offered them and a compensation of Rs.5 lakh has been given to the family.
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