After facing an alleged social boycott for drawing water from hand pump of ‘dominant’ community for over two years, Dalits in a village in Haryana’s Hisar district have moved Supreme Court.
According to the petitioners, the dispute arose on June 15, 2017, after members of the dominant community assaulted a group of Dalit boys over the use of a hand pump for drawing water. An FIR was filed after six people were hospitalised after the incident.
The boycott is still in place from July 2, 2017. The top court on November 5 referred to the issue as “serious” and said that police have to take action as it is a matter related to social boycott and atrocity.
“There are allegations about social boycott and atrocity. Police have to look into it. This is a serious matter,” NDTV quoted a bench of justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai as telling the counsel appearing for Haryana government.
The bench told the state counsel that it has called for his presence in the case so that he can take proper instruction from the authorities concerned. The top court then directed the state counsel to call a senior police officer associated with the case on November 8 and get a status report filed in the matter.
The plea wants the CBI to take over the probe and prosecute the guilty. It has also sought a direction to the Haryana government to “immediately put an end to the social boycott imposed by the dominant community since July 2, 2017, inter alia, and punish all those responsible for the social boycott by the imposition of a collective fine on the dominant community.”
The plea further sought a direction for appropriate externment orders against those who have been involved in the incident, and payment to the victims of substantial compensation.
“There has never been such a severe and protracted social boycott of a village of Dalit community comprising of about 500 houses for such a protracted period of over one and half years as in the present instance,” the plea said. The plea alleged that the social boycott continues despite the issue being raised before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
“The threats continue, and the community is most insecure. The local police have aligned with the dominant community against the Dalits, and the sessions judge has, in fact, criticised the conduct of the police. Not a single person has been arrested,” it claimed.
Allegedly, when the Dalit community members refused to withdraw the FIR, a call was issued for their social boycott by the members of the dominant community and an unregistered organisation. Their water supply was also stopped.
“As a result of the social boycott imposed by respondent number three (organisation), the Dalit community have been blocked from free entry into residential areas and fields which they have exercised for decades. They have been blocked from accessing ration shops, dairy shops, hair cutting saloons and the water supply has been sporadically stopped forcing the Dalits to approach the administration,” the plea said.