18 Mahadalit houses set ablaze by caste Hindus in Bihar

November 24, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Bihar, November 23, 2016: Police in Bihar’s eastern Madhepura district on Tuesday arrested two of the six men accused of setting afire as many as 18 houses belonging to a Mahadalit community — the poorest among the Dalit communities living in Bihar.

Nearly 50 people from the distressed Mahadalit community in Udakishan area, many of them women and children, have now been forced to live under the open winter sky since the accused persons, who belong to an upper-caste community, burned down their modest dwellings on Monday night, said officials.

The reason behind the attack is said to be a long-standing dispute over a piece of land that members of the Mahadalit community have been using for several years.

Bateran Rishidev, one of the Mahadalit men who lost their houses, said the upper-caste people in the area had for long threatened them of attacks. “They had been harassing us over several matters for many months. Now they took this violent step that has rendered nearly 50 of us homeless during the winter,” he added, demanding immediate arrest of all the accused and relief measures by the local administration for the victims.

“After arresting two of the accused, we are conducting raids to nab the others. An investigation has been launched to ascertain the real motive behind this attack,” said Madhepura SP Vikas Kumar.

District magistrate Mohammad Sohail said steps are being taken to rehabilitate the affected families.

However, Gajendra Singh, a relative of one of the accused men, described the charges against them as concocted. “Our people have absolutely no role in this fire. Concocted and politically motivated charges are being used to arrest upper-caste people,” said Singh.

Mohammad Sohail appealed to the absconding accused to surrender and cooperate in the investigation.

The attack, the latest in Bihar in a string of incidents the lower-caste people continually face, shows how the Mahadalit communities still remain vulnerable to the ire of the upper-caste people despite the Nitish Kumar-led government’s efforts to bring about social justice with development.

– new indian express

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