Dalit Toddlers Burnt Alive in Haryana

Modi Minister Responds With Arrogant Anti-Dalit Slur

Two-and-a-half year old Vaibhav and 11-month-old Divya, children of a Dalit couple Jitendra and Rekha, were burnt alive in Sunpedh village in Ballabhgarh, Haryana, when upper caste feudals set their home on fire. Rekha also suffered extensive burns and is battling for life. The feudals had already attacked the Dalit family before – and the family was supposedly under police protection. The entire attack took place with the police present and asleep a short distance from the entrance to the house.

The BJP and Government of Haryana ruled by it, instead of taking responsibility for the failure of the police’s abject failure to protect a Dalit family, is insisting that the whole thing was a ‘family feud’ not an anti-Dalit atrocity. This is nothing but a shameful attempt to ensure that the perpetrators of this atrocity are not booked under the SC/ST Act.

Worse still, Union Cabinet Minister and former Army chief VK Singh, saying his Government should not be held responsible for “local incidents,” added, “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is not responsible.” With this atrocious analogy reeking of feudal arrogance, VK Singh made it clear that in his mind, those who burnt the children alive are human, the Dalit victims are like dogs, and the entire incident is too trivial for the lofty Modi Sarkar to be bothered with it.

This isn’t the first time a BJP leader has indulged such analogies of course. The PM Modi himself infamously compared the Muslim victims of the communal pogrom of Gujarat 2002 to ‘puppies’ that ‘came under one’s car.’ When Dalits were lynched to death over accusations of ‘cow slaughter’ in 2002, in Jhajjar, Haryana, VHP leader Giriraj Kishor had infamously declared, “According to our shastras, the life of a cow is very precious.”

And when the butcher of Bihar’s Dalits and oppressed castes, Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh, was killed, BJP MP and now Union Minister Giriraj Singh called him ‘Bihar’s Gandhi’!

Haryana has of course been the site of other horrific atrocities against Dalits, even in Congress rule – including the burning alive of Dalits at Mirchpur, the torching of Dalit homes at Gohana, serial rapes of Dalit women, eviction of Dalits from villages in Hisar and Bhagana, and so on. The Congress is in no position at all to take a high moral ground on anti-Dalit atrocities in Haryana.

But the BJP’s Haryana Government headed by RSS man ML Khattar, must be held squarely responsible for the Ballabhgarh atrocity, given the fact that the victims were actually under police protection.

The question must also be asked – if Modi and his Government and Home Ministry refuse to accept any responsibility for Dadri or Ballabhgarh and insist all these are ‘local incidents,’ how can the Government claim to be running the country? How come the Modi Government has nothing to offer except hate-speech when atrocities against Muslims and Dalits occur?

BJP ally Jitan Ram Manjhi, in speeches during Bihar polls, has been forced to call VK Singh a ‘feudal’ man and condemn his remarks. Another BJP ally and Central Minister, the LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan has asked his colleague Singh to refrain from making such statements. The issue, though, is that Jitan Ram Manjhi and Ramvilas Paswan both know full well that the BJP itself is a party of feudal interests, implicated in funding and patronizing the Ranveer Sena in Bihar. As they strive today to win power for the BJP in Bihar, their statements ring hollow.

A CPI(ML) team visited Sunpedh on 22 October, comprising CPI ML Haryana In Charge Com. Prem Singh, CPI ML activist Aslam Khan, AICCTU activist Abhishek Ks, RYA National Secretary Om Prasad and journalist Raziv Raaz.

The CPI(ML) has demanded that VK Singh be dismissed from the Government and booked under the SC/ST atrocities Act.

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