Thakur-Dalit Clash in Saharanpur Claims 1 Life; 15 Houses Torched
The incident took place after some Dalits objected to loud music being played by a Thakur procession.
In the second incident of violence in Saharanpur within a fortnight, one person was killed and at least 15 others, including a police officer, were injured on Friday as members of the Thakur and Dalit communities clashed over loud music being played during a procession.
Around 25 youths of the ‘upper caste’ Thakur community from Shabbirpur village were on their way to Simlana village of Saharanpur to take part in a function to garland the statue of Rajput warrior-king Maharana Pratap, when the Dalit locals objected to the loud music being played by them.
A police report sent to the state headquarters said the Dalits objected to the "raucous" celebration, triggering an angry exchange of words.
It soon snowballed into a full-blown clash with both the groups throwing stones and bricks at each other, it added.
The Dalits asked the Thakur youths to turn off the music blaring out of their loudspeakers.
A police team which rushed to the spot managed to pacify the Thakur youths and asked them to return to their village, but they soon returned with more people and indulged in arson.
Around 25 houses belonging to Dalits, along with police vehicles, were set on fire. Fire tenders were rushed to the village.
The deceased, identified as 35-year-old Sumit Rajput, was part of the procession to Simlana. He was declared dead when he was brought to a local hospital along with the injured.
On 20 April, communal clashes had broken out in the district during a Dalit procession to celebrate BR Ambedkar's birth centenary.
According to SDM Manoj Singh, the Thakur and Dalit communities have been locked in a conflict in the area for the last three months. The bone of contention between the two communities has been an Ambedkar statue in Shabbirpur village.
(With inputs from PTI and Indian Express)
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