Killing of Five
Dalits In Jhajjar
Report Of The Left Parties
Delegation To Duleena,
Haryana On October 17
In Protest Against Dalit Lynching Atrocity.
Following the report of the
killings of five dalits, namely Dayachand, Virendra, Tota Ram, Raju
and Kailash between 9 and 10pm on October 15, in the police chowki of
Duleena in the district of Jhajjar, Haryana a joint delegation of the
CPI(M) and the CPI visited the affected area on October 17 along with
leaders of the All India Democratic Women's Association to express solidarity
with the victims and to register its strong protest and condemnation
of the ghastly crime.
It was the first delegation
that visited the families. Shockingly, other political parties in Haryana
have preferred to remain silent on the crime. The members of the delegation
were Inderjeet Singh and Raghbir Singh Choudhary (Haryana State Secretaries
of the CPI(M) and CPI respectively) Brinda Karat (Central Committee
member CPI_M and G.Secy of the AIDWA) Dr. Harnam Singh (former MLA-CPI)
Jagmati Sangwan, (President, AIDWA Haryana), Balbir Dahiya and Ram Chandra
(CPI-M). The delegation visited the site of the killings and met the
Superintendent of Police Md. Aqil, his deputy Narendra Singh, the SHO
Rajendra Singh and other police personnel. The Deputy Commissioner Mahendra
Singh was in Bahadurgarh and therefore unavailable to meet the delegation.
The delegation met the family members of two of those killed, Dayachand
and Virendra, in the village of Badshahpur and also a large number of
people in the village. The delegation also attended a meeting of the
residents in the village chaupal.
The reported incident:
On October 15, an animal
skin trader, Kailash came to Badshapur village in Gurgaon district to
collect a consignment of skins of buffaloes and cows from a licensed
skinner Devendra. As is the usual practice some advance was given and
the rest of the payment was to be made on delivery. Devendra's brother
Virendra and his cousin Dayachand (both skinners) hired a vehicle to
take the skins to Karnal and accompanied the trader so as to be able
to collect the rest of the payment. The driver of the vehicle was Tota
Ram and the conductor was Raju and they left the village at around 11
am. The first stop was in a place called Farroukhnagar where another
consignment of skins was picked up. The Duleena chowki was en route
to their destination. It is here that the killings took place. According
to the police, the trader bought a dead cow from Farroukhnagar. The
vehicle was stopped coincidentally quite close to the chowki and the
cow was skinned on the main road. A group of people from a neighbouring
village reacting to the sight got off their vehicle and started beating
up the dalits accusing them of killing of cow slaughter and then dragged
them badly injured to the police chowki. This was around 5 or 5.30 pm.
At that time there were about five or six police personnel present.
Later news spread that a cow had been killed and mobs returning from
a Dussehra celebration, some of them drunk, surrounded the chowki, set
up road blocks to prevent the dalits being taken out by the police and
then beat them to death. According to the police the mobs numbered 4000-5000.
The killings took place before three sub-divisional magistrates, the
Deputy Superintendent of Police, the SHO and about 60 to 70 police personnel
who had been sent there after urgent wireless messages from the chowki.
Subsequently an enquiry committee has been formed comprising entirely
of police officials, including those present at the site of the killings.
At the time of writing this report there have been no arrests.
The preliminary findings
of the delegation are as follows:
1. The police version and
role is suspect and dubious. There have been earlier occasions when
the personnel in the chowki had demanded bribes from animal skin traders,
on the pretext of implementing the anti-cow slaughter laws in operation
in the State. The charge made on the basis of past experience by the
family members of those killed that it was the police personnel present
who first beat the dalits because they refused to pay the police requires
consideration and investigation.
2. There are many unresolved
questions regarding the skinning of the cow that ostensibly triggered
the violence. The police version that a dead cow was bought in Farroukhnagar
by Kailash the trader and then skinned on the open road is highly unlikely.
The trader was interested in getting his consignment valued at about
Rs. 40,000 to the delivery destination, the two cousins were more keen
to collect the payment and get back home, why should they suddenly buy
a dead cow worth Rs. 200 and then stop in the middle of the road to
skin it, that too near a police chowki ? Till today the police do not
have the name of the person who supposedly sold the dead cow to Kailash.
If the cow was being skinned then why do the police not have the knife
that was being used? All these issues require investigation.
3. It is possible that a
vehicle standing near the chowki filled with animal skins attracted
the attention of passersby. It is the Viswa Hindu Parishad members and
associated organisations who were directly involved in the spreading
of rumours that a cow had been slaughtered and skinned on the open road
by Muslims. The background is an ongoing "gou raksha' (cow protection)
campaign in the area reminiscent of the one run by the notorious Dara
Singh in Orissa, that is blatantly communal and directed against Muslims.
The VHP was also directly involved in inciting mob violence as also
in mobilizing their members to come to the chowki. They even tried to
scratch out the name of a Muslim police officer on the board outside
the chowki..VHP members rang up the police and warned them not to release
those who had killed cows. A telephone call also came from Delhi from
someone claiming to be a "Shankaracharya" to the police with
a similar warning. The involvement of the VHP is further corroborated
by the congratulatory procession organised by it the following day in
Jhajjar in defence of the killings and demanding that no arrests should
be made. It is also necessary to investigate whether there are any links
between this killing of dalits to the reported conversion to Islam of
33 dalit families sometime in August in two villages in Mewat.
4. The numbers of those mobilized
however requires further corroboration. It is possible that the police
is exaggerating the numbers to justify their lack of action. The chowki
is a very small one open from all sides and it would not be possible
for a small police force to protect it in the face of aggression from
a large mob. However the police is unable to explain why it permitted
the build -up for four hours and why they did not remove the dalits
from the station before the situation became as ugly as it did.
5. The most shocking and
disturbing aspect is the complete lack of concern of the state government.
Not a single Minister has visited the site. No compensation has been
announced for those so brutally killed.
6. It is very clear that
the main concern of the police at present under orders from the Government
is to "defuse' the situation, a euphemism for not taking action
against those involved since it would cause a law and order situation.
Thus the new code being set is that the protection of law and order
is not by arresting those guilty of a heinous murder, but by not arresting
them and bowing before threats of communal criminals.
It is our conviction that
there has been a complete suspension of the law of the land as far as
this case is concerned. If there have been no arrests in spite of ample
evidence of those guilty, it is because of the Government's and the
administration's soft approach towards the communalists as also because
of the culpability of the police. We demand immediate arrest and prosecution
for murder against all those guilty. A timebound CBI investigation into
the atrocity must be ordered. The incident provides one more reason
why the VHP with its highly provocative slogans and anti-national activities
should be banned and its leaders arrested. Action should be taken against
all those officials present who utterly failed in their duty to protect
the innocent lives of the five dalits. Compensation of Rs. five lakhs
should be given to the families of those killed.
Detailed report of the
Solidarity with the families
The delegation visited Badshahpur
in Gurgaon district where two of the victims, Dayachand and Virendra
had lived. According to the large number of people who we met at the
houses of the victims, the families had the support of the entire village
regardless of caste. We also met people of different castes at the village
who were angry at the incident. They all had the highest praise for
the victims, as being extremely hardworking, helpful.
There is a large jatav community
in the village. Some of them, like the two victims, earn their living
by skinning dead animals. The contract for such work is given on tender
by the Block Development Officer. In this case it was Virendra's brother
Devendra who had got the year long contract for Rs. 35,000 in April
this year for 40 villages. The delegation saw the receipt number 035
issued by the BDO. The family were very particular to show the delegation
the papers to establish that the entire profession was legal and there
was no question of ever skinning a cow in the area outside the jurisdiction
of the license, least of all near a police chowki like Duleena, an hour's
drive away from their own area. Devendra also has the license for skinning
dead animals from the Goushala. He told the delegation that he had accepted
the work on a very low payment as a sort of donation to the gaushala.
The dead animals are picked up by his team of workers, brought to the
land allotted for skinning by the village panchayat, the carcasses are
buried by the workers after skinning, the skins are treated with a salt-based
mixture and then sold. It is hard, unpleasant work and it provides a
crucial service to the community with low payments and even less in
terms of social recognition.
Dayachand was working with
Devendra for a meager amount. We met his old parents, his wife Saroj
and his four children. It was very moving and sad to see the older daughters,
Minu and Pinky aged eight and nine, helping their mother and grandmother,
carrying their young brother and sister, even while wiping their own
eyes that would constantly fill up with tears. This is an extremely
poor hardworking family now bereft with the cruel killing. The victims
brother Dulchand and his father Budhram, spoke of when at 3.30 in the
morning of the 16th the police came knocking at their door to inform
them of an "accident' that had involved their son. They as well
as Devendra's family were informed that the young men had been admitted
to the Jhajjar Civil hospital. No means of transport were provided to
take the families to the hospital. Once they managed to reach there
they shuttled between the chowki, the thana and the hospital, as there
was no official to meet them and inform them of what had happened. Ultimately
they were directed to the morgue. Stunned, grieved, shocked they saw
the brutalized, wounded bodies of their loved ones. Describing the terrible
injuries his brother suffered, Dulchand broke down again and again.
The police refused to arrange for a vehicle, leave alone an ambulance
to take the dead bodies back to their village. "They treated us
as though we were the families of the criminals not the victims",
said Jogendra who was present with the other family members. The police
did not give them any papers, no copies of the FIR filed.
The savagery, the cruelty
of the caste system, the inhumanity, the arrogance of the "pure
upper castes" against the "polluted dalits" was brought
out in every word spoken by this young man, desperately trying to control
his grief. "They gave us his body-naked. We are poor dalits that
is why they did not think it necessary to cover my brother even with
an old sheet."
Young men in the crowd sitting
next to us speak out. "These Hindus they make us do their dirty
work and then deprive us of even a minimum of dignity" Another
speaks "if they love their animals so much let them pick up the
carcasses and bury them with full rites", yet another voice "
we know this is the VHP and the Bajrang Dal. Why don't they arrest those
who brought out the procession yesterday". There is anger expressed,
there is protest. Talk moves to organising demonstrations, there is
quick agreement. Among those present is Smt. Ramashree, Zila Chairperson.
She is distantly related to the victims. She speaks of other cases of
atrocities against dalits where the guilty escaped any punishment.
She urges the women present
to join the protests being planned.
The delegation met Virendra's
family. His father Rattan lal, his aged mother Ramvati, broken by grief,
his wife Lakshmi Devi and their two young sons, his brothers Devendra
and Rajesh. The mother kept repeating, but my son was so tall, so strong
how could they kill him? She has not been told, that her beloved son
was surrounded and beaten to death and his head smashed in by big stones.
No Government official has
visited the village, no Minister. For the Government and administration,
the incident might never have occurred, these young men might never
The delegation joined a meeting
taking place at the chaupal organized by local youth. They were planning
how best to help the families and to ensure that those guilty are arrested.
Meeting with SP
Earlier the delegation had
met the Superintendent of Police Mr. Md. Aqil in Jhajjar. He had not
been able to reach the chowki because of road blocs. His assessment
is that the dalits were actually "presumed to be Muslims"
and that is why they were attacked. This was the opinion repeated by
almost all the police personnel we spoke to. He gave us details of the
police version, quoted in the earlier sections of this report. and admitted
that has been no investigation about the reported buying of the cow
in Farroukhnagar. He said that the police spent time trying to ascertain
the truth from the dalits and then in trying to convince those villagers
who had brought them to the chowki about the facts. According to him,
the police at the chowki were not biased as it was the ASI Dharmendra
who first stated that no crime had been committed by the dalits since
it was a dead cow being skinned. He also said that the dalits had been
beaten by the villagers and then brought to the chowki, but had no answer
as to why they were then not taken to the hospital? He said he was first
informed about the developing situation at around 7pm when he was at
the residence of the Dy. Commissioner, Sri Mahendra Singh. They were
both monitoring the situation and informed the SDMs and other police
personnel to go to the chowki. Shri Aqil received a call from a VHP
leader shortly thereafter informing him that "some cow-killers"
had been caught and that the police should not release them. The delegation
took this as a threat to him, but he said he took it at its face value.
He also received a message from a "Shankaracharya" in Delhi
but could not answer the call due to his preoccupation with the developing
situation. When asked why the police had not protected the dalits by
using their firearms against the mob, he said they were heavily outnumbered
and it would have worsened the situation. He expressed concern about
the congratulatory demonstration organized the following day. However
on being asked what his instructions are from the Government he said
to "maintain peace". We asked him directly if this meant no
arrests: he indicated that at present his first priority was to defuse
the situation, and the arrests would follow after proper investigation.
Clearly he is under tremendous
pressure not to take action against those responsible for the violence.
Others told us that the mobs were shouting slogans against him and accusing
him of helping those who slaughtered cows. Perhaps it was this type
of propaganda against him that prompted him to inform us that he had
taken action against those responsible for a case of cow slaughter just
a few months ago. He went out of his way to defend the police personnel
and their version. He described how the SHO had tried to protect the
dalits and got badly injured on his arm, but when we met the SHO and
made it a point to look for the injury, it was barely a scratch. For
whatever reason, he too is involved in trying to cover up the criminal
negligence of the administration and police to prevent the killings.
At the chowki
The delegation went to the
Duleena chowki where the incident occurred. This is a small brick building
of two rooms in an open area. We took in the dreadful sight on the road
just outside the chowki, of two separate big patches of dried blood
that must have flowed from the bodies of the innocents as they were
being brutally beaten to death. Present at the chowki were the SHO Rajendra
Singh and other constables, Shri Naseeb Singh who owns a petrol pump
in the area and who is the President of the Jhajjar Bar Association
Later the Dy. Superintendent Narendra Singh also came to the chowki.
They repeated what the SP had already stated. They added that they kept
telling the growing crowd that "the men are not Muslims but Hindus."
This was stated by them several times. Finally we had to ask them "do
you mean of they were Muslims the behaviour of the crowd would be justified?"
There was no answer. However the statement does reveal the anti-dalit
attitude of the VHP leaders masterminding the incident. We asked if
they had identified any of the killers. 'It was too dark" the SHO
said. The delegation was shocked at this answer because it spells freedom
for the killers. It is an ominous indication that there will be no witnesses
to identify the killers. We questioned him further " but surely
the police recognize those who had beaten up the dalits in the first
place. Have you filed FIRs against them?" No we have not was the
reply. What about the others? It was not a sudden hit and run incident,
the crowd was here for several hours, how could you not know at least
some of them?" He remained silent. Naseeb Singh then spoke "
I was here too. I can tell you it was a very difficult situation to
control the crowd. The police also were attacked." So the police
have enough witnesses to substantiate their theories, but none who will
speak out for the murdered men. Interestingly, the SHO and others present
made some rather scathing comments about the cow-protection platform.
They said that there are at least 2000 cows abandoned in the area, that
wander around "eating polythene bags"-why don't those who
shout about cow protection protect these cows, they asked. The police
took us around the chowki pointing out marks on the walls made by stones
thrown by the mobs. The wrought-iron window bars have also been damaged
However in our opinion if a mob as large as the one described by the
police had really been aggressive then the damage would have been far
greater. The Dy. Superintendent who has recently been the recipient
of a police award further elaborated on the theory of big crowds. According
to him if the police had fired they would all have been killed in retaliatory
violence by the mob. But was not firm action the only chance to save
the dalits, we asked. We lathi-charged them twice he answered, eight
of our men got injured. We did not see a single injury on him or any
of the others present. As far as arrests are concerned, we were told,
"information is being gathered" from the villages to identify
the guilty. In discussions with those present at the chowki, it was
clear that the main concern was to "defuse" the situation.
We were informed that five teams of police had been deputed to visit
villages to "gather information." The inquiry set up by the
administration consists of police officers under the leadership of DSP
Narendra Singh whose own role was questionable. There is absolutely
no chance of justice for the victims families unless an impartial timebound
investigation under the CBI is not set up. Conclusion
The silence of mainstream
political parties in Haryana and indeed at the national level against
the terrible atrocity against dalits shows how the communal agenda of
the VHP has so distorted politics that the concern for vote banks takes
precedence over the defence of minimum human rights. In Haryana, since
the "mandir movement" did not get the response sought by the
sangh parivar, the symbol for communal mobilisation is "cow protection.'
The incident and the subsequent activities of the VHP provide more evidence
of its deeply manuvadi, casteist, anti-dalit outlook and actions.
We call upon all sections
to express their anger, their protest against this terrible atrocity
against dalits and to espress solidaritywiththe families in every way