Bhanu P. Lohumi, Tribune News Service
Pabnawa (Kaithal), April 16. Deserted chopal, bricks and stones scattered all around, broken gates and ransacked houses of Dalits narrate the horrid tale of brutal violence perpetrated on them by goons of upper caste at Pabnawa village of Kaithal district on the intervening night of April 13 and 14, forcing the Dalit womenfolk to flee the village.
The horrifying incident took place on the eve of 122nd birth anniversary of BR Ambedakar, known as messiah of Dalits, and about 80 houses were ransacked and 11 persons, including seven policemen, were seriously injured.
The Dalits paid for the “sin” of marrying an upper caste girl by a Dalit boy of the village and the brutal attack engineered after giving ultimatum to the Dalits to return the girl within two days, the victims lamented.
The upper caste community could not digest marriage of Surya Kant, a Dalit, and Meena belonging to Rod community, and their marriage spelled doom for the entire community, living under fear and terror.
Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes PL Punia who arrived at the village to take stock of the situation was encountered by an 80-year old woman when he had barely walked 100 metres into snaking gullies who fell on his feet and asked “What is our fault. What have we done”.
The women identified as Raji, mother of “Miya” the kiryana shopowner at the chopal who was seriously injured and was admitted to PGI when more than 400 persons of Rod community, opposed to marriage of their girl with low caste boy, attacked their homes just sought justice.
With tears rolling down her cheeks, Raji pointed towards the gate of her broken home which was ransacked and said they came like a tornado, attacked my son, injured him, took away the canter, shop material and assets.
She was not the only one to tell her tale of woes and every broken gate had a story inside it. Another resident who was an eyewitness to the attack, Ramesh, said neither had we supported Surya Kant of our community who got married to Meena of Rod community nor we were instrumental in the marriage. Then why we have been victimised and forced to live under threat.
An old man Lakhmi Chand said we were fortunate that we sent our women and kids to our relatives’ place after the big wigs of Rod community served an ultimatum of two days on April 10 to get the girl back or face the consequences.
The worst hit were the people engaged in menial jobs who feel threatened to go out to earn their livelihood and were waiting for the survey to be completed so that they could get money to reconstruct their homes.
Kaithal SP Kuldeep Singh said the situation was under control on Monday and police personnel were deployed in the village. “The villagers from both the communities are making efforts to sort out the issue.
The administration is cooperating with them in this initiative,” he said.