NEW DELHI: Mounting political pressure and relentless protests forced the Delhi Police to register an FIR under the SC/ST Act over the alleged attack on Scheduled Caste members of a colony in Tughlalakabad village for hoisting the national flag on Independence Day.
Around 25 residents of the Jatav Colony had gathered around the Ambedkar statue on the ASI land in the village to celebrate Independence Day. “Around 11 am, we all gathered to celebrate the day. As we were standing there, one Rajbir, belonging to the Gurjar sect, screamed at us asking what we were doing there. When we said we were celebrating Independence Day and offering tributes to Ambedkar, he said we SCs cannot celebrate and hoist flag here as it was not our land,” said Chandarpal, a resident of the colony.
He said they objected to this and told Rajbir that they were hoisting the national flag on government land.
“Soon, other men from Rajbir’s side arrived there and attacked us. They did not even spare the woman. About 10 people sustained injuries,” he said. The assailants allegedly vandalised the Ambedkar statue, threw mud and cow dung on it, and passed caste slurs against the SC community. “We are protesting for two days, but the police filed a case only today. They haven’t arrested anyone yet. The police are siding with the Gurjars. We want justice,” said another resident of the Jatav Colony.
However, the police have a different take on the entire incident. “On inquiry it was learnt that an altercation had taken place between the members of Jatav Colony and one Jitendar and his family, belonging to Gurjar sect, over entry to the land,” said the police. Police said their inquiry revealed that both parties have an old dispute over a piece of land which belongs to the Archaeological Survey of India.
“Earlier, a case was registered against Jitender, his father Rajbir, his brothers and mother on the complaint of Chandarpal. That FIR was quashed by the high court in 2018, as both the parties had settled the matter amicably on the basis that Rajbir would give some portion of the vacant plot to the SC community for social functions,” said the police.
However, the matter was not resolved and the dispute continued over the land. Both the parties make regular complaints against each other, the police said further.“From the investigation it is clear that the statue of Ambedkar was installed a few months back and it was never desecrated by anyone. The case is under investigation by an ACP, ” said DCP Southeast RP Meena. The incident has once again thrown light on caste-related violence in the city. AAP leader and the minister handling the SC/ST department, Rajendra Pal Gautam visited the colony on Tuesday and assured strict action against the culprits.
Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekar Azad took to Twitter and said, “The SCs in Tughlakabad village have been attacked on the auspicious Independence Day. It has been two days since the complaint was filed but the police have still not arrested the accused. I have spoken to the victims and will meet them.” He is likely to visit the colony on Wednesday.