Friday, July 2, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Parliamentary team to visit Mirchpur today

Parliamentary team to visit Mirchpur today

TNN, Jul 2, 2010, 03.06am IST

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary committee will on Friday visit Mirchpur
where a man and his handicapped daughter were burnt alive in
anti-dalit clashes on April 21, setting nerves on the edge across the
political divide in the state.

The `committee on welfare of SCs/STs' will visit the village in Hisar
district of Haryana to get a first-hand account of the anti-dalit
atrocity and submit its report to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

The visit may create unease for chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda
who came under fire from different quarters for alleged soft treatment
of the accused and for recurring incidents of assault on SCs in the

"We will assess the atrocity against dalits. The report will be
submitted in the monsoon session of Parliament," Gobinda Chandra
Naskar, chairman of the committee, said.

The visit of 18 SC/ST MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha comes after
the chief minister persuaded the protesting dalits in the Capital to
return and ordered an inquiry into the incident. While the delegation
is headed by ally Trinamool Congress, it also has D Raja of CPI and
members of BJP, SP, Akali Dal and Congress.

To observers, the committee's decision to visit Mirchpur shows that it
found the assault worthy of a closer look. What is not adding to the
state's credit is that prior to Mirchpur, it was Gohana in
Hooda-administered Haryana which earned notoriety as the most serious
anti-dalit assault in recent times.

It follows a serious nudge from party leadership to the state
government to pull up its socks. While Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
wrote a strong letter to the chief minister to ensure justice in the
case, Rahul Gandhi surprised all by paying a visit to the village.
Later, he even spoke to the party's dalit MLAs for feedback. Sources
said Meira Kumar too was "concerned" over the incident.

What made the issue politically tricky is intervention of UP chief
minister and BSP supremo Mayawati. She picked on the clashes against
dalits in Palwal during panchayat elections earlier to draw a link
with Mirchpur and say that Congress had failed to give justice to
dalits in 60 years of rule. She shot off a letter to President
Pratibha Patil.

It was bound to set Congress strategists thinking as Mayawati's wading
into Haryana affairs was seen as a bid to counter the campaign by
Rahul Gandhi that UP government was only paying lip service to dalit

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