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Haryana calm after two days of caste violence

Most towns in Haryana on Thursday remained calm but tense after two days of caste violence across the state following the killing of a Dalit youth in Gohana town, though protesters torched a bus in Hissar district.

Dalit demonstrators on Thursday torched a Haryana Roadways bus in Hansi town near Hissar, 350 km from Chandigarh.

Police officials said that about 40 youth, claiming to be Dalits, stopped the state roadways bus and set it on fire. The miscreants then fled from the scene. The fire brigade extinguished the blaze.

Dalit community members gathered at Hissar town and blocked traffic at Fountain Chowk to protest the killing of the Dalit youth in Sonepat district on Monday night, which sparked off large-scale violence.

The protesters submitted a memorandum to the district authorities seeking immediate arrest of those behind the killing of the Dalit youth, Rakesh alias Lara.

Rakesh, who was gunned down by three unidentified people at Samata Chowk in Sonepat, was tried for the murder of Jat youth Baljit Singh Siwaich two years ago but had been acquitted by a trial court.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killing of the Dalit youth. The sub-divisional magistrate of Gohana will conduct the probe and has been asked to submit the report within 15 days.

Dalit leader Darshan Rattan Rawan, chief organiser of the Aadi Dharam Samaj, said the Dalit protest would continue till the killers of Rakesh were put behind bars.

Rawan said that the Dalit community had rejected the magisterial inquiry. He said that any probe should go into the reasons behind the Dalit-Jat conflict in the last two-three years. “The bandh call Wednesday was a complete success. We will not let the matter rest here,” Rawan said.

Sonepat district police chief Navdeep Singh Virk has claimed that police were close to cracking the Gohana killing. “We have identified some suspects. We should be able to nab them soon,” Virk said.

Meanwhile the relatives of Rakesh have gone to Amritsar with his ashes for immersion. Some places in Punjab, including Amritsar, had witnessed violent Dalit protests Wednesday against the killing.

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