Friday, October 14, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Mirchpur votes half-heartedly

Mirchpur votes half-heartedly
Chitleen K Sethi Posted online: Fri Oct 14 2011, 00:32 hrs

Mirchpur(Hisar) : Mirchpur, the infamous village in Narnaund that has
been in the news for the last one year, registered a low voter turnout
in the Hisar bypoll on Thursday. The low turnout is being attributed
to none of the contesting candidates having visited the village during
the run-up to the bypoll.

The only sign that elections are taking place was visible in the
village school, where the presence of extra security and a hum drum of
people marked polling by Jat voters. The voting percentage, however,
remained about 50 per cent — much less than the constituency's average
of over 68 per cent.

Separate booths had been set up in areas, where majority of the voters
were Dalits. In three such polling stations set up, the numbers of
votes polled were even less — by 4 pm, Dalits had polled only about 36
per cent votes.

The village had hit national headlines in April 2010 when an elderly
Dalit, Tara Chand, and his physically-challenged daughter were burnt
to death after a crowd of the dominant Jat community burnt down
balmisi houses in a fit of rage. The incident brought AICC general
secretary Rahul Gandhi to the village, as also several other state

However, in the run up to the elections, the candidates chose to
ignore the village fearing a dilution of the Jat and non-Jat vote
bank. "None of the contestants wanted to be associated with either of
the two groups, as the matter has been politicised a lot," said a

Following a stark caste divisions in the village, the villagers had
held a panchayat meeting, in which it was decided that the issue will
not be allowed to be politicised any further. The Jats of the village
are unhappy with both the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal for
having not done enough for the over 100 Jats who were arrested
following the incident. The Balmikis, on the other hand, are nursing a
grudge that majority of these accused have managed to go scot free.
They have been alleging that they continue to be ostracised by the

A special trial court will hear arguments on the sentence of the 15
found guilty for the Mirchpur deaths on Friday. As many as 82 of the
accused were released after the court said that it has found nothing
against them. While three of the accused were found guilty under
Section 304 of the IPC, 12 will get off with lighter sentences.


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