Abstract of report of investigation done by the activists of human rights organization NCHRO from Delhi and Kaithal regarding atrocities committed against dalits of village Balu, District Kaithal, Haryana on 1st May, 2017.
On 5th may 2017, a team of human rights organization NCHRO from Delhi visited the dalit basti of village Balu. Its purpose was to investigate the ground reality of the incident of dalit oppression that was committed on May Day. Team remained in Gadra patti of village Balu between 12 noon and 3 pm. The team members of human rights organization NCHRO consisted of President of Delhi Unit Mrs Ashok Kumari, member Khalid, member Ansar Indori. Besides them, President of Jan Sanghrash Manch Com. Phool singh, Sh Ajay Swami and Jagwinder of Naujwan Bharat Sabha, independent journalist Raj Kumar Taraksheel, Dilsher Mandi and Advocate Rajesh kapro also participated in the investigation.
Team members visited the Dalit basti. They talked to victim families. They made audio and videos of eye witnesses. They talked with police personnel present there regarding security arrangements of dalit basti. They also investigated from police officers regarding steps taken against the perpetuators of this heinous crime of dalit oppression. Investigating officer Mr. Satish Gautam DSP, SHO PS kalayat and police personnel in civil dress accompanied the team during the whole proceeding of inspecting the site and talking with people. Eyewitnesses presented their views to the team right in front of police officers. Team members tried to contact accused sarpanch Ramesh Kumar to know about his version of the incident but he did not turn up before the team members. Team members also met Sanjeev and Sandeep admitted in Civil Hospital kaithal who were injured in this incident.
Village Balu Distt kaithal (Haryana)
Village Balu is situated at a distance of 24 km from Distt Head Quarter kaithal in the southern direction. It is one of the biggest villages of Haryana with a population of more than 20,000. Archives of Indus Valley Civilization are found in the village. Main castes of the village are jats, Brahmins, and so called lower castes like chamars and balmikis. There are three panchayats in this large village. There are more than 1000 dalit families in all the three panchayats. All the dalits are landless and are mainly agricultural laborers. Most of the land owners are jats. Village Balu has played an important role in various peasant struggles that have been fought in the past in this area like Satnali movement of 90s and kandela peasant struggle of 2002. At present there are two jat sarpanches and one panchayat is reserved so it has a dalit sarpanch.
Vandalism on the morning of May Day
Team members first visited the house of Ramesh s/o Mahali caste balmiki. Window gril and iron mesh of chaubara (a room built on 1st floor of the house) was damaged during the attack. The attackers attacked with jaili (a traditional sharp tool use in agriculture in Haryana, also can be used like a weapon) and rods. The ferocity of the attack could be gauged from the bricks thrown by them that were seen lying everywhere in the aangan (open space in front of roofed structure). Mother of Ramesh, Panpori told the team members that many dalit boys hid themselves in this chaubara for safety when they were attacked by jats on that day. They were attacked with rods, jaili and bricks. Their intention was to bring these dalit boys out of this chaubara and kill them. There were three or four boys in the chaubara and approx 15-20 miscreants came to this chaubara. Dalit boys could save themselves with great difficulty. Jat miscreants destroyed the boundary wall of the roof. They tried to uproot the roof of the house. More than 50 miscreants were creating a ruckus below in the street. 60 years old Panpori told that Ramesh Sarpanch was also there with miscreants. He was leading the crowd. Birmati w/o Sube singh told that even women were not spared and they were beaten and abused with casteist slangs. Some miscreants were talking about kidnapping dalit girls. Birmati told that at the time of incident most of the men had gone for work. There were only 6-7 youth in the basti at that time. More than 100 jats had surrounded the basti. Other people of basti came after they got phone calls or when they listened the noise from the basti.
Jats also destroyed the taps of water supply system of the basti. They severely beat milch animals.
Back ground of the incident
Satish, younger brother of Sanjeev who got injured during the attack told the team that Sanjeev and Mohan lal had made a complaint against sarpanch Ramesh on CM Window. They told that the 10th certificate of Sarpanch was fake. Because of this sarpanch had a grudge against them. Many times he had also come to their house. He had threatened us to mend these boys and take the complaint back otherwise it won’t be good for the boys. We also tried to convince Sanjeev to take complaint back but he did not listened to us. The news also appeared in the newspaper against the sarpanch. He got enraged with this. We were afraid of this impending attack. Dalit Sultan told us that sarpanch and his supporters were threatening us for a long. Sanjeev and Mohan lal had given a complaint to SP kaithal on 28/04/2017 against sarpanch for the threat of murder. Police did not take any action. If police had taken any action, the attack on 1st may could have been prevented. Sahi Ram who got injured in the incident told that some miscreants from jat community were trying to have a conflict with them since November. Dalit community had complained against this danger to Chief Minister Haryana. SHO, PS, kalayat at that time put pressure on dalits to take this complaint back. It further encouraged the culprits.
Dalit women told that after this incident they have been prevented from entering the agricultural fields. Jat owners of milk dairies have stopped selling milk to balmiki community. This shortage of milk has created a serious problem for young children. Jat kariyana store owners have stopped giving essential items to balmikis. Due to fear dalit children have stopped going to school.
Migration due to fear
Due to the fear, five families from dalit basti have migrated from the village. One 80 years old lady has told the team members that his whole family has left the village due to the fear of jats. Now she is alone left in the house. With trembling voice she narrated the incident of that day how the jats attacked with bricks. Besides this family, other families who have migrated on the day of incident and next day are- families of Bilu s/o Dhula Ram, Mahesha s/o Mahali Ram, Gajja s/o Tehni Ram, Teka s/o Molu Ram. People are migrating even in the presence of police.
Role of police
Victim families have told the team members that police reached the site of incident after 3 hours. Despite the available information, FIR was lodged next day. Till 5th May no person was arrested. Police was waiting for some compromise to take place between two parties. When investigating team had gone to the village in the afternoon of 5th may, at that time DSP Satish Gautam informed the team that two accused persons have been arrested. Police told that village sarpanch Ramesh Kumar has absconded. Victim families told that police is staying with accused families where every facility is being provided to them. Birmati told in such a situation how they could approach the police? Dalit women told that despite the presence of police in the village the accused are roaming freely in the village. Women also told that the accused sarpanch is very well present in the village itself and putting pressure on the dalits for a compromise though police is claiming that he has absconded. Women told that the accused sarpanch is sending various political people to their basti for a compromise and so many panchayats have been held regarding this.
One dalit youth Sultan Singh whose younger brother Sahi ram got injured on that day, told us that jats had attacked them with the intention to kill. They had left Sanjeev thinking he is dead. They did not spare our milch animals. Police took action against the accused after 24 hours but it had also registered a complaint basing on a false report by the sarpanch against us. Now police is threatening to arrest us on the basis of this false complaint.
When human rights team asked the number of injured in the attack, they came to know that more than a dozen dalits got injured on that day. But police admitted only three dalits in the hospital. Later on they were shifted to Civil Hospital kaithal. During investigation three injured persons also came in front of the team members. They told the team members that they got these injuries in the attack but they were so fearful that they did not go for Medical examination. All the three were sent to PHC Kalayat by the investigating officer DSP Satish Gautam for medical examination.
Pressure for the compromise
After completing the investigation in the dalit basti, the team members also visited Civil Hospital kaithal to know about the injured. Already there were around 15-20 people from dalit community who have come there to visit injured Sanjeev and Sandeep. One dalit old man Rambhaj Chauhan told that they have come to them to take their advice regarding compromise with sarpanch. We have to remain in the village which is not possible by continuing the contradictions with jats. Rambhaj told that if they do not compromise then there is a possibility that dalit basti may be attacked again. Everyone was scared of his future.
Conclusions of the investigating team
1 Sarpanch conspired to attack the dalit basti and he himself was present in this attack of dalit oppression.
2 It was a planned attack on dalit basti.
3 This attack was meant to terrorise the dalit community.
4 Police Station kalayat failed to prevent this incident of dalit oppression though victims were time and again complaining of caste attacks. In such a scenario the possibility of a nexus between police and hooligans cannot be ruled out.
5 police is not intentionally arresting accused sarpanch Ramesh kumar. During investigation it came to light that sarpanch is not only roaming freely but he is also pressurizing the dalit community for a compromise.
NHRCO Delhi and local activists involved in the investigation demand from govt of Haryana that
1 all the accused including sarpanch of Gadra Patti, Balu, Ramesh Kumar should be arrested immediately.
2 legal actions should be taken against those dairy owners who are refusing to sell milk to dalits
3 Security should be provided to the dalit basti. Caste based riots should not be allowed to happen.
4 the false complaint lodged by sarpanch party should be quashed.
5 Proper treatments should be provided to all the dalit youth who were injured in the attack. Police protection should be provided to all the RTI Activists of the village including Sanjeev and Mohan lal.
6 Proper compensation should be given to the injured.