Faridabad/Chandigarh: A day after two Dalit children were burnt alive while their parents were reported to be critical when the house of a family in a village in Haryana’s Faridabad district was set on fire on Tuesday allegedly by members of an upper caste community, seven policemen who were deployed for the security of Dalits have been suspended.
According to reports, the suspended policemen were part of a team deployed for the security of Dalits after a similar attack took place in Sun Perh village near Ballabgarh about a year ago.
Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, apart from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and CPI-M leaders, on Wednesday paid a visit to the Dalit family in the hamlet amidst protests by the villagers against the killing of the children.
Three of the 11 accused in the case have been arrested.
The house of Jitender in Sun Perh village near Ballabgarh was set on fire by unidentified people after dousing it with petrol.
Villagers Dushyant and Vipin said that Jitender, his wife Rekha, four-year-old son Vaibhav and eight-month-old daughter Divya were rushed to Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital.
Police said that Vaibhav and Divya succumbed to burn injuries, while giving their age as two years and nine months respectively.
“Some criminals burnt a Jatav family of village Sun Perh, police station Sadar Ballabhgarh of Faridabad district, when they were sleeping inside their house. Four members including Jitender, his wife Rekha and two small children namely Vaibhav (son) aged 2 years and Divya (daughter) aged 9 months were inside the room. Subsequently, the fire spread inside the room and both the children expired. Jitender and his wife Rekha also sustained burn injuries,” said a police spokesman in Chandigarh.
The injured were admitted in General Hospital, Ballabgarh, and then were referred to Safdarjung Hospital, he said.
Police have booked 11 people for murder, attempt to murder and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and SC/ST Act.
Police said that an incident that took place on October 5, 2014, when three people were killed in clashes between two groups of the village, may have led to Tuesday’s arson.
As many as 19 people were booked for triple murder including three members of Jitender’s family after the 2014 violence.
The accused persons were arrested, the charge sheet submitted in the court on January 3 and the case is under trial, the police spokesman said.
Following tension in the village, all shops were closed and heavy police force was deployed in the area.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ballabgarh, Bhupinder Singh said that the situation in the area was tense but under control.
In Chandigarh, a state government spokesman said that three accused – Balwant, Dharam Singh and Kartar of Ballabgarh – have been arrested.
He said that four policemen, who were among the seven police personnel deployed with the victim family for security, have been suspended.
“Constables Bali Mohammed, Vikas and Sandeep have been placed under suspension for dereliction of duties because they failed to protect the victims as they were deployed for the security of victim’s family.
“Inspector Anil Kumar, officer-in-charge of police station Sadar Ballagbarh, has been placed under suspension for dereliction of duties. The situation is at present under control,” the spokesman said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed concern over the killing of the two children and asked Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
“In a telephonic conversation with the chief minister, the home minister expressed concern over the killing and asked the Haryana chief minister to ensure security to everyone and prevent any recurrence of such incident. The home minister also sought a report from the state administration,” an official said.
Khattar expressed shock over the incident and announced financial assistance of Rs.10 lakh to the family.
(With inputs from IANS)