Siddhant Mohan & Aas Mohammad Kaif, TwoCircles.net
A day before the anniversary of infamous Muzaffarnagar riots, violence erupted in Bhoopkheda village as upper caste Rajputs attacked Dalits in the region leaving at least 18 Dalits injured.
The police force has been deployed in the region and senior administration officials are camping in the village which is tense since last two days.
The incident occured in Bhoopkheda village which is situated along the border of Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. On the eve of September 6, Dalits of the village were gathered at a local Ravidas Ashram to celebrate the birthday of their guru Saman Das.
While Dalits were immersed in the ‘Satsang’, about four Rajput boys came into the Ashram and started teasing some Dalit girls who were present there.
As the siblings and other few Dalit men protested against the act, clash erupted between the Rajput boys (whose ages ranged between 17 to 22) and Dalits.
Amit Kumar, 22, was beaten up by the Rajputs when he tried to protest Rajputs who were also teasing his sister. Amit told TwoCircles.net, “What Thakurs were doing here? They were constantly teasing and molesting the girls here. When I protested, they struck me with a Talwar on the head.”
Meanwhile, police reached and the matter got settled at the spot. But this settlement left the Rajput side angry.
On the next day September 7, around six Rajput boys, including the culprits, thrashed a Dalit man Prakash (who is in his mid-40s), who was at the time working in the farms.
Beaten Prakash ran to his village for his life, followed by which Dalits surrounded the attackers. But this could not last long as the Rajputs, who are dominant in 24 villages around, attacked the Dalit locality.
Rajputs were allegedly laced with sticks,swords and other homemade weapons. This organized attack has left around 18 Dalits injured, in which two Dalits are in serious condition. Thakurs also damaged the Ambedkar’s idol installed in the village by pelting stones on it.
The police have registered a FIR against 18 Rajputs under sections 452, 307, 147, 148, 254 of Indian Penal Code, as well as under the SC-ST Act. Police have arrested Vishal, Vijay, Umesh and Prashant from the Rajput side, to which Rajputs are constantly protesting.
Rajput side stresses that the clash erupted as Dalits first attacked and thrashed some of their boys. But Dalits deny this fact. One local and elder Dalit Baburam said, “In between Thakur dominated 24 villages around, no Dalit can dare to even touch any one of them.” These villages are claimed to be the influence zone of the BJP leader and Muzaffarnagar riots accused Sangeet Som.
Police deny that the ‘Satsang’ of Wednesday has anything to do with the clash. According to the Muzaffarnagar SSP Ananat Dev Tiwari, the violence grew after a verbal spat happened over shoe theft, a version which every Dalit of the village denies.
Since Yogi Adityanath, who is considered a Thakur favoring leader, took charge in the state, this is the second time when Dalits have faced the Rajput atrocities in western UP.