When Rajpal, a Dalit youth, eloped with Sushila, a Jat girl from Talaav village in July, it unleashed the fury of a mob that wanted to ‘avenge’ the ‘insult’.
Rajpal’s family had to flee the village and his house lies vandalized – a bitter reminder of the criminal collective rage.
Three months have elapsed, but no one from Rajpal’s family has been able to return.
Upper caste wrath
Two educated Dalit youth, who spoke out against the terror tactics used against their community, were publicly humiliated in the village.
One of them, Sundar, who works in the local court at Jhajjar, said that after the elopement, Dalits in his village were targeted by the majority Jat community.
“Only people from the Scheduled Caste category were rounded up by the police. The message that went out was that all those who belonged to the Chamar caste had a hand in the elopement,” said Sundar.
Sundar went to the police and the press with an application signed by 12 Dalits, alleging that they faced threats to their life from the Jats in the village.
One of the applicants was Poonam, a common friend of the lovers who eloped, and therefore a particularly vulnerable target. She allegedly committed suicide.
“I wasn’t there. I had gone to cut grass, so I don’t know whether the Jats scared her. But she must have got scared because the police would come daily and question her,” said Poonam’s mother-in-law.
Yet the police took no notice of either the application or the circumstances leading to her death. More deaths followed with the return of the lovers.
While the Dalit boy, Rajpal, was arrested, the Jat girl, Sushila died after returning to her parental home. Her sister also died under mysterious circumstances.
Another Dalit, Hari Singh, also allegedly committed suicide.
Behind the trail of death and destruction, there were signs that the Jats were meting out their own version of justice.