The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dalit lynchings blame on cops

Chandigarh, Dec. 9: A Haryana government report on the October lynching of five Dalits in Jhajjar has indicted police for failing to prevent the killings.

The government has decided to chargesheet the errant policemen.

After the Dalits were lynched for allegedly skinning a cow, the government had ordered an inquiry on October 18. Rohtak divisional commissioner R.R. Banswal was told to submit a report within a month. Later, on his request, the government extended the deadline to December 5.

In his 383-page report, Banswal, recounting in details the events that led to the lynching, has said the 145 personnel posted at the police post failed to gauge the situationís sensitivity and acted casually.

They were lax in allowing a mob to gather at the police post, the report says. Later, they failed to rush the Dalits to a safe place or a hospital.

According to the report, the policemen, instead of cracking down, tried pacifying the mob and pushing it back from the post.

None of the policemen had helmets, safety jackets, rubber bullets, teargas, floodlights or an ambulance at hand. Neither did they inform the Jhajjar district commissioner or superintendent of police about the shortage.

Earlier, minister of state for home I.D. Swami had said in the Lok Sabha that the lynchings occurred over the mistaken impression that a cow was being slaughtered. Twenty-three people were arrested.

Banswal had kicked off his inquiry with advertisements in leading dailies, urging villagers and others to provide information, either personally or in writing.

He examined as witnesses the members of bereaved families, policemen and executive magistrates. Banswal also inspected the spot in Farukhnagar town where the cow was reportedly found dead. The workers of Rashid Ahmad, the contractor authorised to remove dead animals from the block, had lifted the cow from there.

Banswal also toured nearby villages.

Official records of verbal transmission messages and police deployment, the Dalitsí and the cowís autopsy reports, medico-legal reports, case diaries, and various photographs obtained from the police and the people were examined.

Banswal also scanned the DCís and SPís reports on the incidents, sent to various authorities.

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