New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sentenced 20 people to life imprisonment in the infamous Mirchpur violence of 2010 where two Dalits were burnt alive in Haryana.
Of the 20, three people were already given life sentenced by a lower court. The High Court today convicted and sentenced 17 more people.
On April 21, 2010, a 70-year-old Dalit man (Tara Chand) and his 17-year-old polio-stricken daughter (Suman) were burnt alive by members of the upper caste in Mirchpur, Haryana. The group also burnt down several homes. Following the violence, many Dalits fled from the village.
'AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR ALL OF US'
The high court held the 20 people guilty under the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The high court said the burning of two Dalits affected 254 Dalit families who had to leave their village. It said that despite 70 years of independence, it is embarrassing to see that such violence is still inflicted upon Dalits in the country.
The seriousness of the Mirchpur violence can be gauzed from the fact that the government had to deploy 75 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for six years in the village to maintain peace. The troops were withdrawn in 2016 after consultation with the state government.
The Haryana Police had also formed a 20-member committee to maintain harmony in the village.
WHAT LED TO THE INCIDENT
The incident was triggered by an argument between some Dalit youths and upper caste men after a person from the latter faction had thrown a stone at a dog which was barking at him. He was passing through a Dalit locality in the village.
An armed group of villagers stormed the locality housing Dalit families and set about a dozen houses ablaze.
While the able-bodied fled, the disabled girl Suman was trapped inside. Her body was recovered by firemen.
The girl's father Tara Chand, who was badly burnt in the incident, died in the hospital later.