Tuesday, February 1, 2011

[ZESTCaste] SC seeks details of losses due to Mirchpur stir


SC seeks details of losses due to Mirchpur stir
Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 31, 2011

First Published: 23:17 IST(31/1/2011)
Last Updated: 23:21 IST(31/1/2011)

The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Haryana government for failing
to act against those who disrupted rail and road traffic in protest
against the arrest of 98 members from the upper caste community in the
Mirchpur Dalit killings. A bench comprising Justice GS Singhvi and
Justice AK Ganguly
also took strong exception to the growing incidents of such protests.
It added such protests were nothing but "strong-arm tactics to
browbeat governments."

The court said it would not remain a mute spectator to the show of
muscle at the cost of constitutional principals.

Unless rule of law prevails this court will take drastic steps, the
kind of which was not beeen seen so far. Muscle cannot prevail over
rule of law. We want to know whether members of any particular
community started using strong-arm tactics to browbeat the
government," it said.

It expressed strong displeasure against the members of 12 khap
panchayats who during their 11-day-long protest had blocked road and
rail traffic, thereby causing loss to the state exchequer.

"One group of people, who are having muscles, cannot put people of the
country to ransom. People have a right to transport," the bench said.
It asked the Railways and the Haryana government to assess their
financial losses due to the disruption.

The bench directed the Northern Railway General Manager to instruct
senior officials to file an affidavit quantifying the loss. Haryana
government, too, has been directed to evaluate the loss and file a
similar affidavit. The same has to be done within two weeks.

"In the last few years, we have been witnessing, for 30-40 days trains
are being stopped in Rajasthan. Thousands of passengers were prevented
from using the railway service. Governments behave as if they were
subservient to the agitators, as if there was no government at all. If
these reports are correct, you have to explain," the bench told
Haryana's additional advocate general, Manjeet Singh.

"Unless the situation improves, we have to take very drastic steps.
Court cannot tolerate this persistent attitude of any community for
destroying the absolute right of life of other communities. Please
mark our words," the bench said.

Villagers had been protesting against the arrest of 98 members of
their community for allegedly killing 70-year-old Tara Chand and his
teenaged daughter Suman in the village on April 21 last year.

The protestors demanded a fresh probe into the dalit killings. Most of
those on the road belonged to the pre-dominant Jat community. They had
been sitting on railway tracks at Julani village near Jind railway
station since January 15, disrupting railway traffic on the
Jind-Jakhal section of the Delhi-Ferozepur route.

The stir was called off on January 26 following Haryana Chief
Minister's assurance to look into their demands.The trail against the
accused of Mirchpur killings is pending before a Delhi court. All the
accused are lodged in Tihar jail.


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