Faith restored in judiciary : Mirchpur Dalits
Dalits of Mirchpur village in Hisar stated that the Delhi High Court verdict awarding life term to the guilty in the Mirchpur arson case had reaffirmed their faith in justice. They said the convicts belonging to the Jat community were facing the consequences of what they did to fellow Dalit villagers.
The Delhi High Court upheld the conviction of 13 members of the Jat community for burning alive a 70-year-old Dalit man and his physically challenged daughter in Mirchpur village in April 2010. It reversed the acquittal of 20 accused for “coordinated and premeditated” attack on the Balmiki Basti, that forced 254 Balmiki families to flee their homes.
“As you sow, so shall you reap. The High Court verdict is the result of the crime they committed over eight years ago. It shows that law and justice prevail in the country. We do not have much hope from the government and political system, but have full faith in the judiciary,” said 59-year-old Om Prakash.
He had been putting up at Tanwar farmhouse on the outskirts of Hisar. His nephew Sanjay Kumar, one of the arson victims, died some months after the incident.
Dilbagh Singh, a 46-year-old Dalit who had deposed in court in the case, stated that they were satisfied with the punishment awarded to the convicts.
“Before the violence, we were living in peace in the village. The atmosphere got vitiated after the incident. I was employed as safai karamchari on a temporary basis after the incident. I have not visited the village for two years and I do not have a job now. It is better to work as a daily wager in town than to go back to the village,” he said.
Satyawan, another witness in the case, said they were satisfied with the decision, but would file a petition against the acquittal of many others. “I have talked to many persons living in the village after the decision. They are content with the punishment. The situation is peaceful in the village,” he said.
Most members of families of the convicts refused to talk to mediapersons. Tension was palpable in their locality, with streets wearing a deserted look. Some upper caste persons said on the condition of anonymity that the decision had affected many families as their breadwinners would have to go to jail.
“These families have been ruined and are in a state of shock. In some families, no male member has been spared,” said a villager, blaming the media for creating hype in the aftermath of the incident.