A village shrouded in anger and anguish

‘We feel unsafe here... Jitender is the only male member left in the family’

Updated - November 16, 2021 03:53 pm IST

Published - October 23, 2015 08:19 am IST - Sun Perh (Faridabad):

Police stop family members of the accused who were trying to meet Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar in Ballabhgarh in Faridabad on Thursday.

Police stop family members of the accused who were trying to meet Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar in Ballabhgarh in Faridabad on Thursday.

As she watches her son Jitender struggle to find his voice as he lay on his bed, 60-year-old Lajjawati’s eyes turn moist. She recalls the days when neighbours used to come over seeking solution to problems and how their homes used to be buzzing with activity with all the family members living next to each other.

Two of Sun Perh’s sarpanch (village heads) have been from this very Dalit family, and the women of the house cannot help but express their shock over how their fortunes overturned in exactly a year’s time. “We feel unsafe here as there is nobody to protect us. Jitender is the only male member left in the family and look at him, he can barely move. All the other men of our house are in jail,” said Lajjawati who herself was released from prison five months ago in relation with the feud that occurred between their family and the Rajputs on October 5, 2014. Her husband and Jitender’s father, Ved Prakash, used to work in the telephone exchange.

She claims the family is left with no source of income and that she has mortgaged 1500 square yard of agricultural land to eke out a living. “The wives of those others in jail have fled to their maternal homes and are refusing to return. Only Gunjan, the wife of Jagmal who was the Sarpanch until last year is still here. At present she is taking care of Rekha at Safadarjung hospital,” she said.

In the house opposite to Lajjawati’s where the two toddlers were burnt alive on Tuesday morning, Santosh sister-in-law of Jagmal explains how Balwant Thakur and his people, the said leaders of the upper-caste Rajput community of the village tortured them last year. “Their men came and burnt our valuables and even killed 11 buffaloes we had. We all fled from the village for months,” she said. However, Lajjawati said that Santosh was also in jail for the case and that the two were released together.

Meanwhile, among the Rajput community there is a simmering anger. “In 2010, when polls were underway, the Haryana government suddenly declared Sun Perh village as a reserved seat. It is then that Jagmal, cousin of Jitender, became the sarpanch,” said a woman from the family, who had lost a member during the feud that took place last year.

The interim Sarpanch of the village Jal Singh said, “Jitender’s grandfather, Prabhati, was an elected Sarpanch a decade ago and he had a golden heart. But, after his death, his family used to have frequent altercations with the Balwant’s camp. Before, Jagmal, Balwant’s wife was the sarpanch.”

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