One killed, several injured in caste clashes in northern India

A day after clashes between Dalits-Rajputs left one dead, the situation in a violence-hit village in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district remained tense but under control on Wednesday, an official said.

Police sources said the attackers fired their guns and wielded batons, allegedly killing Ashish (24), who hailed from Sarsawa town, on the spot and injuring four others.

Akbar, a 50-year-old fruit-seller, said Dalits were attacked by upper caste Hindus with spears, sticks and handguns as they were returning to their homes after attending Mayawati's rally. "This fire was started by the Thakurs themselves to show us in bad light and get publicity", said Ravindra Kumar, a dalit resident of Shabbirpur.

The situation worsened when the district administration didn't allow the Dalits to hold a "mahapanchayat" on 9 May.

In Muzaffarnagar also, Mayawati lashed at the state government for the violence. She further claimed that her Party leaders had sought permission to built a temporary helipad in Shabbirpur area but the local administration refused so she was forced to take road route and if any mishappening occurred on way, then the entire responsibility will be of the government.

She announced the BSP would provide assistance of ₹50,000 to all those whose homes have been burnt and ₹25,000 to those injured in the violence.

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She said a four-member delegation of her party will meet the chief minister to demand adequate compensation for the victims, stern action against the guilty and free treatment for the injured.

Mewani alleges that Sher Singh Rana, who was in 2014 convicted by a Delhi court for murdering dacoit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi, a Dalit, "was invited to garland a statue of Maharana Pratap on his birth anniversary".

The BJP-led UP government, they hoped, would implement the Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act in letter and spirit to create confidence among Dalits that law will protect them. Adityanath termed the incident as unfortunate and offered his condolences to the family of the deceased, according to a PTI report.

The political bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) on Wednesday condemned the attacks on Dalits in Saharanpur which has resulted in one of them being killed.

Thousands of people had staged a massive protest on Sunday at Jantar Mantar in against alleged atrocities on Dalits in Saharanpur.

Strong action is being taken against all those responsible, including the officers, Adityanath said.

  • Toni Ryan