CHANDIGARH: Several Haryana cities and towns witnessed violent protests by the Dalit community on Wednesday in the wake of the murder of a young man, Rakesh Kumar alias Lara, in Gohana town of Sonepat district on Monday allegedly by upper caste Jats.
A “Haryana bandh” call by a Dalit outfit evoked a mixed response. Shops and commercial establishments in Sonepat and other districts remained open and educational institutions functioned normally.
At least 13 persons were injured in stray incidents of violence reported from Bhiwani, Hissar, Karnal, Yamunanagar, Panchkula, Ambala, Panipat, Hansi and other towns.
Late in the evening, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda ordered a magisterial inquiry into the circumstances leading to the Gohana murder and the subsequent events. State Chief Secretary Prem Prashant said the inquiry would be conducted by Sub Divisional Magistrate (Civil), Gohana, who has been directed to submit his report within 15 days.
For the third consecutive day, angry mobs clashed with the police and indulged in arson, setting on fire Haryana Roadway buses and other vehicles. Police resorted to cane charge in Bhiwani, Karnal and other towns to disperse crowds which tried to disrupt vehicular traffic.
There was an uneasy calm in Gohana town. Shops opened and buses plied as usual. Attempts by some young protesters to forcibly close shops were thwarted and unconfirmed reports said three persons belonging to the Dalit community were taken into custody for instigating the mob.
Sonepat Deputy Commissioner D. P. S. Nagal described the situation in Gohana as ``under control” and said no untoward incident had been reported from the district. He said cremation of Rakesh late on Tuesday night had passed off peacefully. There was no communal tension in Gohana and adjoining areas, he asserted.
Karnal Superintendent of Police A. S. Chawla confirmed that five persons were injured when police cane-charged protesting Dalits who tried to block National Highway No. 1 and hurled stones at the cops.
In Bhiwani, the police resorted to cane charge to disperse crowds which had gathered near Old Bus Stand, Rohtak Gate, Haluwas Gate and Dadri Gate. There were reports that mobs burnt two buses in Bhiwani and another in Hansi.
Other reports said property was damaged in Sector 25 of Panchkula and vehicles were set on fire. Reports from Yamunanagar said some miscreants damaged vehicles on Radour Road and near the railway station market.