Villagers Rally Behind Cops Dismissed After The Killing Of Two Dalit Youths

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LUDHIANA – A day after Senior Superintendent of Police, Khanna, Harsh Bansal, was suspended and Machhiwara Station House Officer Manjinder Singh dismissed following the killings of two Dalit youths of Bohapur village, residents of 15 villages today staged a protest at Neelon.

They claimed that the police were not to be blamed. The protest brought traffic to a standstill. The protesters belonged to Upplan, Areiyan, Bhattian (Machhiwara), Ghari Tarkhana, Bahaman Khurd, Punia and Kot Gangu Rai villages.

Satpal Singh, victims’ father, alleged that the protest was sponsored by the police and politicians. He said his sons were booked in criminal cases, but was that the reason enough to kill them.

The protesters claimed that the SSP and the SHO had been targeted by the sand mafia operating in the area. Manjit Singh of Ghari Tarkhana said the officers had tightened the noose around the sand mafia. That was why they had been falsely implicated in this case, he alleged.

Several protesters claimed that Gurjeet might have shot the brothers in self defence. They said the involvement of Harinder and his younger brother Jatinder in criminal activities led to the incident. They maintained that there was no social divide in the area as was being “projected in the media”.

Pargat Singh, a Congress leader of Punia village, lambasted Raj Kumar Verka, Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Caste, for seeking action in the case. “The leaders should not form opinions without knowing the reality. Both brothers were involved in several cases of eve-teasing and assault. Even their parents had disowned them,” he alleged, showing copies of five FIRs registered against the deceased brothers.