The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI probe call into Dalit murders

New Delhi, Nov. 21: Cutting across party lines, Lok Sabha members today demanded a CBI probe into the lynching of five Dalits at Jhajjar in Haryana for allegedly skinning a cow on October 15.

Taking strong exception to the killings, the Lok Janshakti Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Republican Party of India (RPI) and the Congress called for the probe. BJP chief whip V.K. Malhotra supported the demand. Alleging that the VHP and the Bajrang Dal were fomenting trouble, some members demanded a ban on these organisations.

Congress leader Buta Singh and rebel RPI member Prakash Ambedkar joined the chorus for a CBI probe.

Lok Janshakti chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Samajwadi MP Ramji Lal Suman and the RPI’s Ramdas Athavale had given notices for an adjournment motion on the issue of growing atrocities on Dalits, but these were rejected by Speaker Manohar Joshi.

Joshi said since it was a serious and sensitive matter, a discussion under rule 193 — which does not entail voting — could be allowed if the Business Advisory Committee so desired.

Accusing the Haryana government of apathy, Paswan and other Opposition members alleged that local police and the administration were involved in the killings and demanded that the matter be investigated either by a judicial commission or the CBI. The state government’s decision to order a probe by the Gurgaon commissioner was meaningless, they said.

Suman alleged the involvement of VHP and Bajrang Dal activists in the lynching and accused the local administration of having remained a mute spectator to the tragedy.

Paswan said he had visited the spot and alleged that the police “concocted” a story that the five Dalits were lynched when they were found skinning a cow. This, he said, was baseless. The youths were taken to the Dulina police station, where they were asked to pay bribes, he said. On refusal, one of them was beaten to death. To cover up their “misdeed”, the police called the Sangh activists and handed over the victims to them, he alleged.

Describing the incident as “highly sentimental”, Paswan said four Dalits were gunned down early this month at a village in Gaya in Bihar for refusing to pay extortionists. “Dalits have a right to live honourably,” he said, adding that the House should adopt a resolution like it did during Morarji Desai’s regime, condemning atrocities on the backward classes.

Though he supported the demand for a CBI probe, BJP leader Malhotra rejected the charge of involvement of the VHP or the Bajrang Dal in the killings.

He said these organisations had no presence in the area. Urging the Opposition not to politicise the issue, Malhotra said he condemned the killings and that the culprits must be punished.

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